Sustainable Drug Production Through Biotechnology: DBU and BIO Germany Present Cutting-Edge Projects  
6/18/2013 10:12:48 AM

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Berlin/Hannover, Germany Effective medications, resource savings, efficient production and low emissions: at Biotechnica 2013, DBU demonstrates how to achieve all these core goals for sustainable pharmaceutical production with the help of biotech methods, together with the German biotech industry organization BIO Germany and other DBU partners (Stand D 62).

Drugs are crucial to providing proper medical care. However, drug manufacture is traditionally associated with the consumption of large amounts of raw materials, solvents and energy as well as with high waste volumes. This is why the German Environment Foundation DBU’s “Sustainable Pharmacy” initiative promotes selected projects that foster efficient and resource-sparing production of medications – including the development of new synthesis and purification processes using industrial biotechnology.

The following DBU-supported biotech model projects in this field are on show at the DBU and BIO Germany joint stand (D 62) at Biotechnica 2013, Europe’s leading biotechnology and life sciences exhibition:

• Pain medications: more resource-efficient production – better effectiveness (asymmetrical decarboxylation for environmentally friendly synthesis of optically pure profens, Chiracon/Luckenwalde, Germany,

Profens (e.g. Ibuprofen) are common anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs. Biotechnological synthesis enables specific production of the active S-enantiomers for these medications, whereas chemical synthesis always produces a mix of S-enantiomers and their molecular mirror image R-enantiomers. The biotechnological synthesis method therefore generates higher yields consumes fewer raw materials, produces less waste, and above all ensures better drug effectiveness and reduces the potential for side effects.

• Environmentally friendly extraction of sugar for pharmaceutical application (development of a fermentation process for the production of L-fucose, Jennewein Biotechnologie,

L-fucose sugar is used for both pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications due to its anti-inflammatory, wound-healing and anti-allergenic characteristics. However, extracting L-fucose from seaweed as well as chemical synthesis require the use of extraction and oxidizing agents that are damaging to the environment and to health. The fermentative process developed in this project, which is based on an easily available carbon source such as glycerin, offers a sustainable and environmental alternative. No organic solvents, acids or toxic salts are needed.

BIO Germany and the German Environment Foundation (DBU) are presenting a joint stand for the third time with the goal of showcasing how German companies are exploring opportunities for sustainable development offered by industrial biotechnology methods.

BIO Germany, the German biotechnology industry organization, aims to support the development of an innovative industry branch based on modern biological sciences. White biotechnology plays a pioneering role in this effort. Resource- and energy-efficient processes are a source of powerful innovations in white biotech.

The German Environment Foundation (DBU) promotes in particular the development of more efficient and more environmentally friendly production methods for the manufacture of active agents, in the field of industrial biotechnology. The focus here is on the implementation of innovative model approaches by small and medium-sized companies. A unique feature of DBU-supported projects is the inclusion of green accounting for each one. This ensures that environmental as well as economic aspects are taken into account at an early stage in the development of products and processes. The DBU has already twice awarded the German Environmental Award, Europe’s largest environment prize, to white biotechnology players.


German Environment Foundation (DBU)

Dr. Hans-Christian Schaefer

Tel.: +49 541 9633-321


BIO Germany

Dr. Claudia Englbrecht

Tel.: +49 30 72625-132


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