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Unilever licences Arzeda Inc.‘s enzyme technology

As part of its ‘Clean Future’ strategy, Unilever NV has licensed enzyme technology from Arzeda Inc. to help rid detergent production of fossil carbon.

According to an analysis from Nova Institute (Cologne), production of chemicals including laundry products 85% (or 450 millon tonnes annually) of the overall carbon demand is met by virgin fossil fuel resources. As part of its Clean Future’ commitment to remove 100% of fossil fuels as feedstocks for its entire cleaning and laundry portfolio, Unilever has partnererd now with Seattle-based Arzeda, a Seattle-based industry-leading virtual protein design specialist to discover and design new enzymes. Over three years, Unilever will tap into Arzeda’s enzyme design technology and selflearning AI algorithms to bring brand new enzymes to the world market.

The partnership may improve the sustainability and performance of cleaning and laundry products. Arzeda’s algorithms learn from the vast number of existing enzymes in nature, and uses computational protein design and deep learning to optimise their function. As well as exploring enzymes occurring naturally in the world, Arzeda is also able to design new enzyme versions that may offer unique benefits compared existing enzymes. According to Unilever, the discovery and optimisation of new enzymes in formulations could result in up to 50% less ingredients required, while delivering superior cleaning benefits to the consumer. Decoupling the chemical sector from the use of fossil fuels is a critical factor for mitigating the damaging impact of climate change and requires a transformation of the chemicals sector unseen since the industrial revolution.