July 1, 2016
COMPUTATIONAL APPROACH STREAMLINES INDUSTRIAL ENZYME DEVELOPMENT
Computational technology from Arzeda Corp. (Seattle, Wash.; www.arzeda.com) can streamline the development of novel enzymes, as well as improve existing enzymes, for industrial fermentation. The company’s proprietary computational platform, known as Archytas, uses advanced algorithms to design and screen a vast number of DNA sequences that code for enzymes with properties desirable for a targeted industrial fermentation process. Arzeda’s technology creates new genes not present in nature, but that are optimal for industrial applications, explains Arzeda co-founder and CEO Alex Zanghellini. He contrasts his company’s DNA screening approach with other modeling techniques, such as molecular dynamics, that use computer processing power to solve molecular mechanics equations designed to model and understand existing enzyme activity. “Our technology is able to screen through 1032 different combinations and generate a narrowed-down list of DNA sequence candidates that can give rise to the required enzyme properties,” Zanghellini says. Then a small number of DNA sequences with the properties most likely to be useful are synthesized and tested in live vectors.