Simvastatin (Zocor) is among the top pharmaceuticals on the market. A group at CAS QIBEBT, in cooperation with Hisun Pharmaceuticals, has elaborated an improved pathway for the production of this chemical which includes microbial production of lovastatin through Aspergillus terreus fermentation, alkaline hydrolysis of lovastatin to produce monacolin J, and chemical transformation of monacolin J to simvastatin. Engineered mutants of an Aspergillus terreus strain cleave the side-chain of lovastatin with high selectivity and hydrolyze about 95% of the biosynthesized lovastatin to monacolin J.

CAS news release, July 20, 2017