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A new generation of microbial expression hosts and tools for the production of biotherapeutics and high-value enzymes

Project description

Technological leap in recombinant protein production

Recombinant proteins are widely used in industrial applications mainly in the form of enzymes and in the treatment of various diseases. Production of these proteins takes place in certain bacterial and yeast species. To address the limitations of these protein secretion platforms, the EU-funded Secreters project is working on novel systems that can generate challenging antibody structures. The work will provide important insight into protein export systems, while the technologies and methods used will fuel better and safer biopharmaceuticals and food production. A significant part of the project is dedicated to the training of the next generation of scientists in the field of protein engineering.


The ‘SECRETERS’ partnership aims to bring about a step change in the production of recombinant proteins, particularly Biotherapeutics and Industrial Enzymes. Both are critical products for the EU biotechnology sector, with combined markets in excess of $140 billion p.a.; the former are essential for the treatment of major diseases whereas the latter permeate every aspect of our daily life. Many proteins in these categories pose severe problems in production, especially disulphide-bonded proteins and new format 'difficult-to-express' proteins. SECRETERS will train a team of 15 ESRs to develop a new generation of super-producing microbial production hosts, including Escherichia coli, Bacillus species and the yeast Pichia pastoris. The project capitalises on a series of recent innovations and involves close collaboration between 5 academic Beneficiaries, who provide world-leading expertise in redox chemistry, synthetic biology and protein expression, and 5 non-academic Beneficiaries, who include some of the world's premier biotherapeutic and industrial enzyme companies. It will enable the biotherapeutics industry to produce challenging medicines at lower costs, resulting in new drugs and wider patient access, and allow the enzymes industry to deliver a range of powerful new products. SECRETERS will equip ESRs with the interdisciplinary and intersectoral skills required to thrive in these industries, with quality assurance systems embedded throughout the programme and a commitment to a wide-ranging dissemination/outreach programme. Based on a responsible innovation approach, with clear foci on research and entrepreneurial training, SECRETERS will deliver a team of superbly-trained scientists, poised to engage in some of Europe's most important biotechnology sectors.


Net EU contribution
€ 531 239,76
9713 GZ Groningen

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Noord-Nederland Groningen Overig Groningen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 531 239,76

Participants (11)

Partners (4)