Seattle-based Arzeda designs new proteins “never seen before in nature.”
A food technology innovator platform is able to improve proteins – the building blocks that perform the vast majority of functions within living organisms – by combining high-throughput screening for computational protein design. Its proprietary technology is based on models from protein biophysics and metabolic biochemistry coupled with large-scale computing and the company claims to have achieved ‘a radical change over what is possible with conventional protein engineering’.
“Arzeda uses a combination of deep learning and physics-based approaches to engineer enzymes with unparalleled precision,”Founder and CEO Dr. Alexander Zangelini told FoodNavigator. “We are unable to disclose datasets for training our machine learning algorithms. However, we use datasets that are generated in-house (including live screening results for each enzyme design campaign), as well as those available in the public domain.”
The company has just entered into a joint development agreement with AAK, a specialist in fats and oils, headquartered in Malmö. Working collaboratively with partners such as AAK, Arzeda claims it can create solutions that can deliver “performance and efficiency benefits”.
The agreement aims to accelerate the innovation of vegetable oils through the application of new enzymes. The collaboration will use Arzeda’s protein improvement technology platform to further enhance the sustainability profile of AAK’s edible vegetable oils while revealing efficiencies in production. The companies said the goal is to address the continuing and growing demand for healthy, tasty and sustainable foods.
“While we cannot reveal project details for competitive reasons, our designed enzymes have the potential to improve oil quality and improve efficiency in oil processing. We can do this by designing enzymes – or protein catalysts – for very specific properties to achieve a customized modification of oils, as well as to improve the parameters of the oils. optimal process,”Dr. Zangelini explained in detail.
“By leveraging the power of AI, we can dramatically speed up iterative design cycles to achieve more sustainable, more efficient edible oils. By adapting oils to the exact specifications our partners desire, we can ultimately use any feedstock – including the most sustainable feedstocks – To make any oil. This is the long-term vision, and our collaboration with AAK is a step towards that goal.”
The CEO added: This project has nothing to do with the delicate fermentation of oils. Cell-free enzyme processing is advantageous compared to micro-fermentation for several reasons. First, it has the scalability of conventional chemical processes, while still being a fully biological solution (low temperature, low pressure, no toxic solvents, etc.). Enzymes are more refined and selective than whole cell fermenters. Second, the cell-free enzymatic process does not require contact of a genetically modified organism with the food component.”
“AAK is pleased to work with Arzeda to address one of the most pressing issues in the food industry, sustainable vegetable edible oils,”Karsten Nielsen, Chief Technology Officer at AAK commented. “We are confident that their complete technology platform, which spans from AI-driven design to enzyme manufacturing, can help accelerate our innovation efforts in biotechnology.”
Specific details of the agreement were not disclosed, but the companies emphasized that the collaboration is a joint endeavour, with joint milestones and marketing as part of the agreement.
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