Cell-Like ‘Molecular Assembly Lines’ of Programmable Reaction Sequences as Game-Changers in Chemical Synthesis


Current state-of-the-art chemical synthesis requires several reaction steps and produces vast amounts of waste, for example 25–100 kg of waste per kg of product for pharmaceutical drugs. This is inefficient and not sustainable.

Our vision is to revolutionise chemical synthesis by eliminating the need for many intermediate reaction steps, resulting in close to zero waste streams and a sustainable, green ‘chemical factory of the future’.

CLASSY team participants at the kick-off meeting in November 2019 at ETH Zürich.

Solution & Innovation

To realise this vision, CLASSY aims to develop a radically new type of chemical reactor inspired by the way in which living systems manage to modulate catalytic activity.

The idea is that these reactors can self-regulate and perform multiple programmable reaction sequences by compartmentalisation of individual steps of the reaction sequence and replication of the molecular effectors that control the reactor’s catalytic activity. The use of microfluidic technology to compartmentalise individual steps of the reaction sequence and replicating molecular effectors to control the reactor activity constitute unique and highly innovative tools toward the project goals.

Read more about CLASSY’s goals and objectives here.

CLASSY will create a new type of flow reactors that act as cell-like molecular assembly lines, being able to synthesise a multitude of complex products in a single chemical reactor. These will have the capability to revolutionise the way chemical products, for example, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, are manufactured today.

Lear more about CLASSY’s research here.

CLASSY is a EU funded FET-Open project that brings together 5 leading research groups in systems chemistry, peptide replication, complex reaction networks, and peptide/enzyme catalysis. Their expertise will be combined with new microfluidic technology developed by a high-tech SME and expert dissemination and exploitation support from an SME specialised in project management and communication of EU funded projects. This highly interdisciplinary consortium will generate new scientific knowledge and novel technologies to support essential pillars for Europe`s future, such as renewability, sustainability, zero waste emissions and energy efficiency.

Learn more about CLASSY’s researchers and team members here.

Registration is open now!

Join us online on 15 March 2024 from 13:00 – 16:00 for the online CLASSY Scientific Symposium “Catalysis in chemical networks and supramolecular assemblies: New advances in systems chemistry”.

Want to learn more?

Check out the programme and register today!

[Check out the highlights from the experts]

The CLASSY Industry Workshop was held online on Monday, 16 October 2023, attracting 70 participants from the industry and academia. The event, titled “Bioreactions in flow reactors: bringing out the potential applications for cell-free synthetic biology”, zoomed in on the hot topic of enzymatic cell-free pathways in flow through eight talks by ten experts in the field.

Did you miss (parts of) the event or want to know more than the key takeaways from the workshop? You can watch the full video recording on the CLASSY YouTube channel.

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