Semi-Biosynthesis of Paclitaxel Intermediate


Executive Summary


A shortage of the chemotherapeutic paclitaxel (Taxol) due to an unreliable pharmaceutical supply chain lead researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) to discover and propose a novel, faster way of producing paclitaxel and related anti-cancer drugs: Using a semi-biosynthetic process, Taxol can now be produced in a more streamlined and faster in vitro synthesis process to quickly ramp up the production during shortages, ensuring the pharmaceutical supply for many breast cancer patients as well as patients with ovarian, lung, bladder, and colon cancers.


Description of Technology


Currently,  most paclitaxel production uses plant cell fermentation technology developed by the German and Canadian biotech company Phyton Biotech, Inc. MSU researchers have developed a non-toxic semi-biosynthetic approach that is simpler, less time-consuming, and easier to control (in vitro) than the currently used production method. This novel MSU technology is a process that uses Tyrocidine Synthetase A (TycA) for the production of phenylisoserinyl CoA thioesters.


Key Benefits

  • More efficient, faster, and more flexible synthesis of paclitaxel and related anti-cancer drugs
  • More streamlined production process
  • Controlled environment, in vitro synthesis possible
  • No harsh organic solvents used, greener production



  • Global cancer drug market
  • Commercial potential for experimental precursors in research market


Patent Status:


Patent application published, publication number 20150284751


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Kevin Walker


Tech ID: TEC2012-0076


Temporary Contact


Nina (Isi) Davis, Technology Marketing Manager, email:, phone (direct): (517) 884-1829


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Randy Ramharack
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
Kevin Walker