Unilever collaborates with protein design company Arzeda


Unilever has entered into a strategic partnership with Arzeda, the industry-leading Protein Design Company™, to apply for the newest advances in digital biology to discover and design new enzymes.

The collaboration will affect many of the leading cleaning and laundry products in the world, including Unilever’s Sunlight, OMO (Persil), and Surf.

Enzymes are elemental to the natural and living world around us, responsible for almost all biological actions that take place on earth, from how trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide, to how food is converted to energy in our bodies.

Enzymes have also been a major ingredient in cleaning and laundry products for a very long time, breaking down stains made from oils, fat, and protein chains on our surfaces and laundry. Until now, science has only been looking at the surface of the benefits they could be of in our everyday lives. Unlocking their potential could provide immense possibilities.

Under the partnership, over the next three years, the global consumer goods brand will apply Arzeda’s world-leading digital biology methods to its product creativity across its cleaning and laundry products.

Arzeda learns from the huge number of enzymes already in the environment and uses smart technologies such as a combination of physics-based computational protein design and string learning, a form of Artificial Intelligence to optimize their functionalities.

Arzeda is also able to explore and design versatile new versions with incredible benefits that would otherwise not have been possible.

Arzeda optimizes enzymes to replace components with a high environmental property mostly found in most laundry and cleaning products. Courtesy of its Clean Future strategy, Unilever has committed to eradicate virgin fossil fuels as a component for the chemicals in its cleaning and laundry products.

Enzymes, which are less in carbon, naturally derived, and deliver enhanced performance benefits, will be important in helping Unilever realize its Clean Future mission. The finding and optimization of new enzymes in formulations could result in up to 50 percent fewer ingredients required while providing superior cleaning benefits to the customer.

As well as providing new benefits for the cleaning and laundry segment, this collaboration will encourage knowledge-sharing of undiscovered uses for enzymes in the past that could solve wider industrial, consumer, and environmental issues across multiple sectors.

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