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Sulfotools: Peptide synthesis of the future

Sulfotools GmbH was founded in March 2016 by an interdisciplinary team of three scientists from Darmstadt driven by one vision: To develop the peptice synthesis of the future.

Today tens of thousands of tons of organic solvents

Peptides are biomolecules that consist of chains of up to 100 linked amino acids. Long-chain peptices (from 100 amino acids upwards) are called "proteins". Pepitdes are elemental components in all living systems with various biological properties. While proteins are produced by genetic engineering, the large majority of pepitdes currently on the market are manufactured by chemical and synthetic methods via solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). Here, the desired peptide is built step by step on a solid phase.  

Every year, the peptide industries consumes thens of thousands of tons of toxic, environmentally dangerous and costly organic solvents whose disposal is also expensive. The use of these solvents is associated with significant health and environmental risks; DMF (N,N diemthyl formamide) that is the most commonly used organic solvent in peptide synthesis is toxic and teratogenic. The cateogrization as a teratogenic chemical results in an almost exclusively male workforce in industrial peptide production. Handling this kind of toxic solvents requires specialized equipment and protective measures, safety education is mandatory. All efforts to reduce the use of organic solvents or completely replace them have so far been fruitless. 

"Clean Peptide Technology" relies on water

By using Sulfotool's proprietary Clean Peptide Technology (CPT) the toxic organic solvents in peptide production can be replaced with water and the required chemicals surplus can be significantly reduced. In addition, the technology comprises an efficient purification concept and simple waste water treatment. This not only leads to cost reductions of up to 50 %, but also allows for the production of solvent-free end products which is a major factor especially in cosmetics. The advantages of sustainable production can be communicatd directly to the end consumer. In addition by forgoing environmentally hazardous solvents the volume of toxic waste can be reduced as well as risks for man and environment.

Wanted: Venture capital and strategisc partners

In order to achieve maximal value creation from this revolutionary technology, the team is currently looking for venture capital and strategic partners.

The „Proof of Principle“ of the Clean Peptide Technology has been accomplished in the lab and the method has been patented. The commercial „Proof of Principle“ has been performed in the context of successful waterbased peptide synthesis with a renowned industrial customer and already resulted in intitial revenue. Currently the Sulfotools team is working on the scale-up and the transfer to other areas in chemistry. Funding was received until mid-May 2017 from the EXIST I program and sinde early September 2017 from EXIST II.

Due to the sucessful positioning of Sulfotools among others as a winner of the concept phase of the Science4Life Venture Cup 2015 and runner-up in the Business Plan Phase, the award of the StartGreen Award 2015 in the "founding concept" category and the German Brand Award 2017, Winner Industry Excellence in Branding, Chemical Industry, substantial interest of potential customers and license partners from the CMO industry as well as producers of chemicals and peptide components could be raised.

The company is managed by two chemists, Dipl.-Ing. Sascha Knauer and Dr.-Ing. Christina Uth. the third founder is Prof. Dr. Harald Kolmar, a leading scientist in the field of peptide synthesis. He brings more than 20 years of scientific and entrepreneurial expertise into the company. Furthermore, the founders are supported by Dr. Niklas Koch and Simon Englert, M. Sc., both chemists, in research, development and production.