Processing Magazine

Codexis wins Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

June 27, 2012

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Codexis, Inc., a developer of cost-advantaged processes for the production of biofuels, bio-based chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates, received the annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the development of an efficient biocatalytic process to manufacture simvastatin, a leading drug for treating high cholesterol.

This marks the third time in seven years that Codexis has been honored with this award. The company was a recipient in 2006 and 2010.

Simvastatin is the most prescribed statin in the U.S., with 94.1 million prescriptions in 2010 according to IMS Health.

Traditionally, synthesis of simvastatin has required an inefficient, multistep chemical process that involves significant quantities of hazardous reagents.

In collaboration with Professor Yi Tang at the University of California, Los Angeles, Codexis conceived and developed a synthesis using an engineered enzyme and a practical, low-cost feedstock. Codexis optimized both the enzyme and the chemical process for the large-scale, commercial manufacture of simvastatin. The resulting process produces high quality simvastatin in a cost–effective manner and greatly reduces the use of hazardous chemicals and the amount of waste produced.

“Collaborating with the Codexis team was a true inspiration. Their directed evolution technology empowered us to go beyond academic theory and deliver a more environmentally friendly process that is impacting the pharmaceutical industry today,” said Yang.