Biocatalysis for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical intermediates

Huihua Sun, Hongfang Zhang, Ee Lui Ang, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Biocatalysis has been increasingly used for pharmaceutical synthesis in an effort to make manufacturing processes greener and more sustainable. Biocatalysts that possess excellent activity, specificity, thermostability and solvent-tolerance are highly sought after to meet the requirements of practical applications. Generating biocatalysts with these specific properties can be achieved by either discovery of novel biocatalysts or protein engineering. Meanwhile, chemoenzymatic routes have also been designed and developed for pharmaceutical synthesis on an industrial scale. This review discusses the recent discoveries, engineering, and applications of biocatalysts for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical intermediates. Key classes of biocatalysts include reductases, oxidases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and transaminases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1284
Number of pages10
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Biocatalysis
  • Hydrolases
  • Isomerases
  • Lyases
  • Oxidases
  • Pharmaceutical intermediates
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Reductases
  • Transaminases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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