Oxford Biotrans was spun out of the University of Oxford’s Department of Chemistry by Professor Luet Lok Wong in 2013 to develop novel enzymatic approaches for the production of high-value chemical compounds.
The Company has patented a library of cytochrome P450 enzymes that can be used for the oxidation of compounds in a way that is considered ‘natural’, in contrast to ‘artificial’ methods that use chemical synthesis. Its lead product converts the chemical Valencene, cheaply sourced from oranges, into Nootkatone, a high-value compound found in grapefruit, for use in the flavour and fragrance market. This process creates a compound that can be labelled as ‘natural’, resulting in a price premium over synthetic grade product due to consumer demand. The Company expects to generate significant revenues from 2018 onwards, and in the long-term aims to expand from flavour and fragrances (F&F) into the high value pharmaceutical and agrochemical markets.