Pharmaceuticals have historically been produced by either chemical synthesis or whole cell fermentation. The former is applied to synthetic small molecules while the latter to natural products. As a result of recent advances in rapid discovery of enzymes through genome mining and metagenomics, and their tunability in functions and stability through directed evolution, biocatalysis is emerging to be a transformational technology for drug discovery and production. Enzymes can catalyze reactions otherwise challenging by chemical approaches. Furthermore, enzymatic catalysis is a powerful tool for green chemistry development. This manuscript gives a brief overview of current status in integrating chemical and biological transformations for the synthesis of small molecular therapeutics.
Keywords: Biocatalysis, chemoenzymatic synthesis, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antidepressants, anti-cholesterol agents, anticonvulsants
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