Enzymes Required for Tropinone Biosynthesis


Executive Summary


Hyoscyamine and scopolamine are listed on the World Health Organizations Model List of essential medicines. They are used to treat symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, and motion sickness.  Because these compounds are extracted from plants grown on plantations, the supply line fluctuates with adverse weather conditions. Our technology provides an option to enhance production of this bioactive compounds in current production systems or, together with additional enzymes, metabolically produce these compounds in heterologous plants or microbial systems.


Description of Technology


This technology is two genes necessary for the production of tropinone, the rate limiting precursor in the biosynthesis hyoscyamine and scopolamine.  This technology combined with previously known biosynthetic enzymes can enable stable microbial production of hyoscyamine and scopolamine, and may also be used to increase plant-based production of these two key medicines.


Key Benefits

  • Dramatic increase in tropinone synthesis in roots/microbial systems, should reduce production costs.  Hyoscyamine and scopolamine synthesis is dependent upon the amount of tropinone available making it rate limiting.
  • Can use already established tissue systems for production
  • Enables microbial synthesis in yeast



  • Medicinal Biotechnology: Manufacture of tropane alkaloids such as hyoscyamine and scopolamine through genetically engineering enhanced plant/ microbe varieties


Patent Status


Under review


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights / non-exclusive rights available, potential for collaborative development project


Inventors: Dr. Cornelius Barry, Matthew A Bedewitz


Tech ID: TEC2016-0001


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University