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Circa Group offers bio-based LGO for COVID-19 therapeutic research

UK-headed biotechnology company Circa Group – who produces bio-based solvent "Cyrene" in one step from levoglucosenone (LGO) – is offering its LGO manufacturing capability to experts looking for building blocks for coronavirus (COVID-19) therapeutics, including ribonolactone.  

A levoglucosenone (LGO) molecule. Circa Group – who produces bio-based solvent “Cyrene” in one step from LGO – is offering its LGO manufacturing capability to experts looking for building blocks for coronavirus (COVID-19) therapeutics, including ribonolactone (image courtesy Circa Group).

Established in 2006, Circa Group converts waste cellulose-derived biomass into advanced bio-based chemicals with its proprietary “Furacell” process at its prototype plant in Tasmania, Australia – a joint venture with Norway-headed forest industry major Norske Skog.

Its developing product portfolio includes flavours, bio-polymers, and bio-solvents including “Cyrene”, an alternative to traditional polar aprotic solvents, which is produced in one step from platform chemical levoglucosenone (LGO).

LGO is an excellent starting material for the synthesis of biologically active compounds, including those which have anti-cancer, anti-microbial or anti-inflammatory activity. This chiral molecule provides opportunities to access previously difficult-to-synthesize intermediates such as enantiopure dihydropyrans, deoxy-sugars, and ribonolactone, the latter is a component in several drugs currently under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19, commented Dr Jason Camp.

Circa’s continuous process for producing levoglucosenone from waste cellulose at its FC5 prototype plant in Tasmania, Australia, with partner Norske Skog, is currently producing LGO in tonne quantities.

Circa’s expertise to manufacture levoglucosenone has been built up over many years – and now this manufacturing capability can be utilised for the production of ribonolactone and other important medicinal chemistry building blocks. We encourage researchers and those investigating potential coronavirus treatments to consider new possibilities that LGO provides, said Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder of Circa Group.

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