Arran Chemical Company Continues Unique Industry – Academia Collaboration with Athlone Institute of Technology

September 8, 2020

Announcing a new four-year PhD scholarship to deliver greener and more economic alternatives to chemical production methods

Athlone, Ireland, 08 Sept 2020Arran Chemical Company, a member of the Almac Group, has embarked on its second collaboration project with Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) to support a four-year PhD program which will investigate a novel library of Laccase enzyme biocatalysts in oxidative green chemistry.

Leading the project is Hong Ann Gan, the 2020 recipient of AIT’s President’s Doctoral Scholarship award.  Hong recently completed a BSc (Hons.) in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology at UCD achieving a First-Class Honors Degree and will commence the project in October. Hong, originally from Malaysia, will be jointly supervised by AIT’s Dr. Sean Reidy, Lecturer in Chemistry, Dr. Noreen Morris, Lecturer in Chemistry, in collaboration with Professor Tom Moody, VP of Technology Development and Commercialization, Almac Sciences & Arran Chemical Company and Dr. Peter Cairns, Technical Manager, Arran Chemical Company.

The project will focus on greener and more economic alternatives to chemical production methods for the synthesis of oxidative products which is currently an under resourced and studied area. This technology will find application in both pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. Laccases are considered by many in the biotechnology field as the ultimate green catalyst due to the myriad of functional transformations, broad substrate specificity and relative autonomy due to the fact they only produce water as a by-product. In addition, the high stability, selectivity and mild reaction conditions, make these enzymes particularly attractive as oxidative catalysts for chemical synthesis. It is therefore essential that new methodologies are explored to expedite their use.

This Laccase project has the backing of Professor Moody, who commented: “We are delighted to be supporting AIT once again and look forward to working together over the next four years.  Almac will supply the college with all the necessary biocatalysts needed for this investigation and, of course, guidance and expertise from our specialists in this field. We wish Hong every success in his PhD project.”

Dr Reidy stated “This project has the exciting prospect of exposing both the student and supervisors to new and exciting areas of research. A collaboration with Arran Chemical Company, an established global chemical company with a wealth of experience which works with clients globally, will raise the profile of Athlone Institute of Technology as a base of R&D excellence and lead to further opportunities for collaborative research in the future.”

AIT has established strong links with Arran Chemical Company over many years and, together, have carried out a variety of projects on the synthesis and separation of chiral amines. This project is the second such Academia – Industry collaboration between the Almac Group and AIT in recent years. The first project was initiated last summer and focused on the use of biocatalysis in the asymmetric synthesis of chiral amines and diamines. Lauryn Bracken, a recipient of AIT’s President’s Doctoral Scholarship award (2019), is undertaking this work as part of her PhD studies.


About Almac Group

A unique culture delivering exceptional solutions

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organization providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. Its innovative services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialization, API manufacture, analytical services, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organization which has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5,600 highly skilled personnel across 18 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia.

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