Sustainable Synthetic Strategies for the Preparation of Low Molecular Weight Drugs by Biotech Routes
For billions of years, the phenomena of life and biocatalysis have been intertwined. If in the beginning biocatalysis was fundamental for the origin of life, currently it is very important for the cleaner production of pharmaceuticals and fine chemical intermediates. There is no doubt that drugs have brought great benefits to humanity, but currently, the expectations of modern society are focused on drugs with greater safety, less environmental impact, more sustainable practices, and less energy use. This review intends to show how the challenges for the production of some low molecular weight drugs produced by synthetic routes that involve at least one biotechnological step using microorganisms or enzymes were faced. These biotechnological drug production routes are more sustainable than conventional synthetic routes, as they produce a much smaller amount of waste, use moderate reaction conditions, have lower energy consumption, and have lower metal consumption, in addition to being more selective. Additionally, many natural products have structures too complex to be produced exclusively by chemical routes. The large-scale and economical production of these drugs is of great importance for fighting cancer as well as inflammatory, infectious, autoimmune, metabolic, hormonal, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases, among others.