Historically, the roots of Zedira go back to Prof. Lothar Fuchsbauer’s work on microbial transglutaminase at the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany, during the 1990s. At that time, he discovered together with his PhD student Ralf Pasternack
, that microbial transglutaminase derived from Streptomyces species is produced as an inactive pro-enzyme that is activated by the cleavage of a propeptide. The enzyme is well known as a “biological glue” widely used in food processing.
In 1999 the start-up N-Zyme BioTec was founded by Lothar and Ralf along with Prof. H.G. Gassen (Darmstadt University) and Dr. J. Klein (Doehler Group) to target novel applications of microbial transglutaminase. One year later Martin Hils
joined the company bringing along his expertise in molecular biology and recombinant protein production.
Today, recombinant microbial transglutaminase (T001
) is one of the most important products in our portfolio. The highly active and purified transglutaminase is especially useful for site-specific protein modification.
In the ensuing years the business focus has shifted more and more towards human transglutaminases and their role in various diseases, including the development of small molecule blockers of transglutaminases. Drug discovery requires funding and therefore investors. Consequently, in 2007 Martin and Ralf decided to establish a pharmaceutical company, which they named Zedira. The company
started with the aim of generating transglutaminaserelated products geared towards celiac disease.