Cornell startup ZYMtronix partners with enzyme company

Judy Zheng, Stéphane Corgié, Juan Diego Alonso
The ZYMtronix group at their laboratory in the McGovern Center. From left, Rani Brooks '14; Judy Zheng ’10; CEO Stéphane Corgié; Juan Diego Alonso, J.D. ’14, MBA '14; and Matt Chun ’14.

ZYMtronix, a startup company with roots in Cornell-developed technology and operating in Cornell’s Kevin M. McGovern Center for Venture Development, has signed an agreement with Codexis, a major producer of pharmaceutical enzymes in Redwood City, California.

The agreement will help Codexis provide new functions to their proprietary enzymes that will benefit their pharmaceutical clients.

 “Codexis is the ideal partner for us. We both aim to improve upon nature and push the limits with our respective technologies,” said Stéphane Corgié, CEO of ZYMtronix. “Our technologies can boost the adoption of many enzymes in the industry, leading to environmental and cost benefits – all while speeding up current processes,” he said.

ZYMtronix has leveraged Cornell research to bolster industrial enzymes and provide the industry – pharmaceutical and enzyme manufacturers – with green, cost-effective solutions. In traditional chemistry, making pharmaceutical drugs requires a long series of labor-intensive, expensive reactions, but employing enzymes cuts the number of necessary reactions, energy and hazardous chemicals.

Enzymes often need to be immobilized on carrier materials so they are not lost during chemical reactions; this benefits to reaction efficiency. ZYMtronix uses new cost-effective immobilization methods to control cutting-edge industrial enzymes. The technology increases the effectiveness of key enzymes for chemical synthesis.

Think sand castles. Given the right conditions, sand and water stick together to form structures that can maintain a shape. ZYMtronix nanoparticles and enzymes similarly form small magnetic structures that trap the enzymes, which can then be easily manipulated. These enzyme-loaded scaffolds can be readily adopted by existing industrial manufacturers for broad applications in making chemicals for pharmaceutics and other industrial sectors.

ZYMtronix was incorporated in 2013 by Corgié and Juan Diego Alonso, J.D. '14, MBA ’14. Earlier this year, the company received its first National Science Foundation Small Business Innovative Research grant.

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Joe Schwartz