EnzBond founders Alina Rakhimova and Robert Simion.

EnzBond launches to make fast, effective enzyme development a reality

EnzBond, a new biotechnology company from Oxford University, has been formed to commercialise in-silico technology, which makes utilising enzymes in drug manufacturing both cost-effective and time-efficient.

At present, discovering the right enzymes for production in drug development can prove both prohibitively expensive and time consuming, as identifying the right enzyme is a trial and error process that can see companies go through potentially thousands of enzymes during the search. This prevents the penetration of enzymes in the industries like pharma where effective and green technologies are crucial.

EnzBond's in-silico technology allows the company to examine the potential properties of these enzymes virtually, rapidly speeding up the process. Compared to rival biocatalyst discovery firms, EnzBond's technology has demonstrated itself to be at least ten times faster and far more accurate. The company is currently in discussions with utilising its product with major pharmaceutical, agricultural, cosmetic, and synthetic biology firms.

Robert Simion, Chief Technology Officer at EnzBond, said: 'The potential to apply enzymes to current production methods not only opens up the potential of cleaner processes but also potentially significant reductions in cost for critical compounds such as antivirals and antibiotics. We are excited to see what sectors our technology can terraform.'

EnzBond is also the first Oxford spinout developed by students since NaturalMotion, which was sold to games company Zynga for $527m in one of the largest spinout exits on record. Typically, spinout companies are either led or advised by an academic founder. In the case of EnzBond, the founders did everything from develop the underlying technology to pitching the technology to pharmaceutical partners and investors while PhD students, and officially founded the company upon completion of their studies.

Alina Rakhimova, Chief Executive Officer at EnzBond, said: 'The process has been both rewarding and challenging. At EnzBond we had to build our strength as we go, learning all the aspects of business development in real life. Looking back, I can say that this experience is priceless. There is no bigger reward than achieving goals that seemed to be impossible before. But that was just the first step; we now have a great team with invaluable experience and many more "impossible" targets to reach.'

Oxford University Innovation, the research commercialisation company of Oxford University, was involved with spinning out the company, while Oxford Sciences Innovation, the spinout investment company for Oxford University, has backed EnzBond with £350,000 in seed financing.

Lachlan Mackinnon, Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation, said: 'We view this as an industry ripe for disruption and are excited to back founders with the right mix of skills to have an impact. In-silico methods have yet to properly penetrate enzyme design and we are confident that EnzBond's technology has the answers.'