RetroBioCat: Computer-Aided Synthesis Planning for Biocatalytic Reactions and Cascades

30 June 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


As the enzyme toolbox for biocatalysis has expanded, so has the potential for the construction of powerful enzymatic cascades for efficient and selective synthesis of target molecules. Additionally, recent advances in computer-aided synthesis planning (CASP) are revolutionizing synthesis design in both synthetic biology and organic chemistry. However, the potential for biocatalysis is not well captured by tools currently available in either field. Here we present RetroBioCat, an intuitive and accessible tool for computer-aided design of biocatalytic cascades, freely available at Our approach uses a set of expertly encoded reaction rules encompassing the enzyme toolbox for biocatalysis, and a system for identifying literature precedent for enzymes with the correct substrate specificity where this is available. Applying these rules for automated biocatalytic retrosynthesis, we show our tool to be capable of identifying promising biocatalytic pathways to target molecules, validated using a test-set of recent cascades described in the literature.


Computer Aided Synthesis Planning

Supplementary materials

SI, Finnigan et al, RetroBioCat

Supplementary weblinks


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.