ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable—Catalyzing green chemistry & engineering in the global pharmaceutical industry.


Historically many catalytic reactions of interest to the Pharmaceutical industry have involved the use of rare elements such as Pd, Pt, Ru, Rh, Ir, etc. Recent work has demonstrated many key catalytic reactions can be carried out with more Earth abundant metals such as Fe, Ni, Co. This growing field is important but all metals and materials are mined and purified.

Arguably, the future of catalysis in the Pharmaceutical industry is to be found in biocatalysis. Recent work in directed evolution and molecular engineering have enabled the development of asymmetric reactions and other catalytic reactions that far exceed the capabilities of rare metal catalysts in terms of sustainability, and are far greener from multiple perspectives. GCIPR member companies have organized to share best practices and advance biocatalytic technology.

Team Leads


Brenden Derstine
B Derstine
Frencesco Falcion
Frencesco Falcioni

Team Members


  • Brenden Derstine, Neurocrine
  • Francesco Falcioni, AstraZeneca
  • Luke Humphreys, Gilead
  • Rajesh Kumar, Pfizer
  • Jay Larrow, Novartis
  • Chaomin Li, Biogen
  • Richard Lloyd, GSK
  • Carlos Martinez, Pfizer
  • Isamir Martinez, ACS GCI
  • Mark Morris, Vertex
  • Keith Mullholland, AstraZeneca
  • Katharina Neufeld, Janssen
  • Ryan Phelan, AbbVie
  • Chris Prier, Merck
  • Matthew Robinson, Corteva
  • Martin Schürmann, Innosyn
  • Radka Snajdrova, Novartis
  • Matt Stirling, Takeda
  • Christophe Szczepaniak, UCB
  • Nicole Wamser, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Denis Wetzl, Roche
  • Hao Wu, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Kumiko Yamamoto, Amgen
  • Tay Rosenthal, Corteva
  • Thierry Defrance, UCB
  • Thierry Schlama, Novartis


Promote wider use of sustainable biocatalytic transformations in pharmaceutical and chemical processes. Expand current biocatalytic capabilities beyond those currently used.

Team Folder

DMS: Biocatalysis


Biocatalysis Sheet Image

Sample of the Biocatalysis Sheet

Updated: 2/1/2021

  • ACSGCIPR Guide to Biocatalytic Transformations
    The team has created a guide for the most commonly used biocatalytic transformations. The final version is now available: Biocatalytic Transformations Guide [PDF]
  • Assemble a sub-team from Core GCI PR member companies to develop and deliver guidance tools, compare and share best (pre-competitive) practices and ultimately propose a grant or grants for areas of biocatalysis where significant unmet needs are believed to exist.

Team Status

Updated: 1 October 2020


  • Cheat sheet finalized with the team, but some late changes
  • Panel at Virtual Protein Engineering Conference April 2-23rd to discuss Pharma supply concerns (cost, time, IP) – next conf potentially in Nov ‘20
  • Francesco (AZ) agreed to be PoC for the Prof Arnold Grant
  • Chris Prier (Merck) & Luke Humphrey (Gilead) put in a request for biocatalysis session at 2021 GC&E conference
  • Members polled on technology gaps, chemistries were grouped and voted on. Results are basis of a grant call- Oxidations & convergent reactions


  • Sharing of biocatalytic processes with PMI, slow process
  • Biocatalysis reagent guide (not repeat the same work)

Activity Snapshot

  • Sharing of examples of biocatalytic steps/processes with PMI for educational purposes within member companies, and the external environment.
  • Collate and edit the material (end of 2020)

Upcoming Projects

  • Monitor grants and assess other information sharing mechanisms within the team