Fine chemicals revamp completes at Degussa

Related tags Catalysis Chemical reaction

The completion of Degussa's reorganisation of its fine chemicals
activities into two separate business units heralds a raft of new
projects at the company.

The formation of two separate fine chemicals business units at Degussa, one focusing on exclusive synthesis and catalysts, and the other on chemical intermediates, has now been completed.

The Exclusive Synthesis & Catalysts business unit, headed by Dr Peter Nagler, will concentrate on the development of custom-tailored syntheses and catalysts with a firm emphasis on the pharmaceuticals market. The second unit - Building Blocks - will be headed by Dr Joachim Semel and will supply intermediates such as alkoholates, alkyl chlorides, pyrimidines, malonates, phenolic antioxidants and triacetoneamine derivatives.

Annualised sales for the Exclusive Synthesis & Catalysts start at around €400 million, while for Building Blocks they are approximately €800 million a year.

CPhI news

Both the new business units made new announcements at the CPhI conference in Frankfurt, Germany, last week.

Exclusive Synthesis & Catalysts reported that it has now started up a new current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facility to purify amino acids for infusion solutions in Wuming, China. This plant operates as a joint venture between the unit's French subsidiary Rexim and Nanning Only Time Pharmaceuticals and has been set up with a total investment of €26 million.

Meantime, the unit has expanded oligonucleotide manufacturing at its Raylo Chemicals facility in Edmonton, Canada. The addition of a second production suite means that the site can now produce oligonucleotides in quantities sufficient to meet Phase III clinical trial and commercial-scale requirements.

On the catalysts side, the unit has launched an innovative new product for enantioselective hydrogenation, F 214 VHA/D 5% Pt, which consists of a combination of a highly-dispersed platinum-on-aluminium oxide catalyst and an alkaloid that acts as a modifying agent. It is particularly suited to catalysing hydrogenation of carbonyl groups in alpha-keto compounds, according to Degussa.

The new agent is easy to handle as it requires no activation (other catalysts for these reactions require activation in a hydrogen flow at 400 degrees centigrade before use). Moreover, because the platinum is permanently attached to the powdered substrate, the used catalyst can be removed through simple filtration and the platinum can be re-used.

The Exclusive Synthesis & Catalysts unit is also offering the first commercial quantities of various homogeneous catalyst systems developed over the last two and a half years at the firm. They include ligands and metal-complex catalysts that can be used in asymmetrical hydrogenation and CC-coupling reactions, both of which are widely used in pharmaceuticals production.

Finally, the Building Blocks business unit revealed at the CPhI that it has established a new fine milling centre at its site in Trostberg/Schalchen, Germany, that will allow it to offer micronising services to external as well as internal customers. Using air-jet mills, the centre provides two fine-milling lines with custom micronising down to 1.5um.

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