In 2003 Megazyme opened its Molecular Biology Division to rapidly respond to increasing demand for stable, high purity enzymes with exacting substrate specificities. High-throughput cloning and versatile recombinant protein expression technologies are now the hallmark of the division, and in synergy with the depth of analytical/biochemical knowledge possessed by Megazyme scientists, these molecular biological competencies have enabled the company to more than double the number of diagnostic test kits that it offers in the last year alone. In fact, Megazyme now offers the largest range of enzymatic test kits for the food, feed, fermentation and wine industries.
Possessing both molecular biology and large scale recombinant protein production/purification capabilities in-house enables Megazyme to control the whole production process for the majority of diagnostic test kit and pure enzyme products. Thus quality is maintained at the highest possible levels while availability is guaranteed.
However, not all things are high-throughput within the division – from inception a great emphasis has been placed on a blue skies research program, an investment that is already paying off, with a stream of novel products and proprietary technologies. A key advantage of our R&D strategy over simply farming out research to other companies/institutions, is not only speed, but also flexibility, i.e. when priorities change, or new ideas come along, the product development pipeline can be instantly rationalised.
The Megazyme plant in County Wicklow, Ireland, has recently undergone a major expansion for the principle reason of re-housing the expanding Molecular Biology Division. These state-of-the-art laboratory and production facilities will ensure that the company continues to deliver the second-to-none technical support and flexibility so valued by our customers. For example, a few years ago a customer enquired if Megazyme could develop a diagnostic test kit for trehalose, a disaccharide with increasing applications in the food industry. Less than two months later, Megazyme’s very rapid and novel Trehalose Assay Kit was ready to launch. Another example of “R&D the Megazyme way” was in the development of our Acetic Acid Assay Kit. Some other acetic acid kits on the market employ labile acetyl-CoA synthetase (ACS) solutions, and we realised if it was possible to stabilise this enzyme in suspension, the kit would become much more user-friendly and efficient for the customer. To achieve this goal, multiple ACS genes were cloned and a recombinant enzyme suited to this important application was quickly identified. The Megazyme Acetic Acid Assay Kit now enables just a single reaction to be performed, without reducing the shelf life of the remaining enzyme.
More recently, the whole approach to acetic acid determination was reviewed, and a new, end-point assay employing acetate kinase and phosphotransacetylase was developed.