30 October 2015

Birger Lindberg Møller awarded a Proof of Concept grant from ERC

Professor Birger Lindberg Møller, head of Center for Synthetic Biology, has been awarded a Proof of Concept grant from ERC (European Research Council). The Proof of Concept is an extension of Professor Møller's current ERC grant.

Biological production of high-value compounds such as medicines, flavors, fragrances and food ingredients, is predicted to constitute 50% of the World market by 2025, thus representing a commercial hotspot. 40% of prescribed medicinal drugs originate or are derived from rare or difficult to cultivate medicinal plants. The business idea is to build a solar powered platform for production of key high-value compounds within the diterpenoid class in green cells (cyanobacteria/moss/algae). The work starts November 2015.

LightDriven P450s
The current LightDriven P450s grant was given to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway of two diterpenoid compounds, the anti-cancer drug ingenol-3-angelate and the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin.

The work to be carried out with this new grant is to create a proof of concept of how to scale up the production of the compounds for production in algea in greenhouses. The proof of concept activities will greatly help move the output of the research towards the initial steps of a process leading to a novel way to produce high value compounds which are difficult to synthesize using current methods. This is believed to have clear market potential, in addition to societal benefits. So far 8 patents related to this technology have been filed in the period 2013 – 2015.

Individual and combined modules

The business idea in short - click for larger image


ERC llogoIn 2011 the ERC launched the new funding initiative, called "Proof of Concept" open to researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant. ERC grant holders can apply for this additional funding to establish the innovation potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded frontier research projects

The official ERC announcement.