Eastman first introduced its BoPhoz catalysts in 2002 and hooked up with Alfa Aesar to distribute them in production quantities in October last year. With the new deal, Alfa Aesar can now offer the ligands from stock in standard 0.1g and 0.5g units for trial use.
Drug compounds often exist as asymmetric (right- and left-handed) mirror images, but usually only one of the structures exhibits the desired pharmacological activity. If a drug can be made one-handed, or chiral, it generally means that smaller doses are needed and potential side effects from the other form can be avoided.
BoPhoz ligands are used in the rhodium catalysed asymmetric hydrogenation of substrates to produce a number of chiral amino acid derivatives, more quickly and at lower cost than with alternative chiral ligands.
Eastman claims that they have a number of advantages over rival products, including ease of preparation and scale-up and stability at room temperature in the open air. Another advantage is they have a high turnover rate, which means customers either need less ligand, or the reaction is faster with fewer unwanted by-products.
Last year, a report published by Frost & Sullivan predicted that the market for chiral compounds destined for the drug industry will rise from $7.0 billion (€6bn) in 2002 to $14.9 billion in 2009.