Argonaut brings parallel processing to chemistry

Related tags Chemical reaction

Process chemists who want to test a number of reactions at
small-scale before ramping up to commercial production could
benefit from a new system, developed by Argonaut Technologies, that
can carry out four separate reactions in parallel.

The Advantage Series 2410 Personal Screening Synthesiser is designed to allow chemists to replicate production-level thermal and mixing conditions while working with small quantities of material.

The intention is that use of the product will shorten the time it takes to design the production processes for new chemical entities (NCEs), while the increase in experimental capacity could lead to more efficient and less expensive process development.

"Route scouting and reaction screening are still very hands-on, creative, and intuitive processes,"​ commented Gordon Tredger, vice president at Argonaut​.

Argonaut said that it is difficult to predict how a reaction will behave under thermal and mixing conditions that exist in production. And in order to address this issue, the firm built a number of new features into the 2410.

Unlike other compact instruments, the system incorporates a thermocouple that sits in the reaction solution, rather than only in the block, making it possible for chemists to see thermal changes instantaneously. This information is valuable in determining the feasibility and safety of process scale-up.

In addition, a magnetic stir bar in each vessel can be adjusted to stir at any height, reproducing the stirring conditions of scale-up more accurately than bottom-stirring systems. Also, to accurately replicate scale-up in large reactors, the can be set to heat up or cool down at the same rate experienced in larger production reactors.

Argonaut has also increased the monitoring capabilities of the system so that it mimics the extensive monitoring available on full-scale production equipment.

The 2410 is the first commercial product to be developed under a strategic collaboration between Argonaut with number one pharmaceutical company Pfizer, first announced in October 2001.

Disappointing first quarter

Meanwhile, Argonaut has report somewhat disappointing results in the first quarter of 2004, with net sales slumping by 28 per cent to $4.7 million (€3.9m) and operating loss climbing 8 per cent to $2.7 million.

The company said the sales decline came about after it exited non-core product lines, but had been a little worse than anticipated, as a number of expected orders had not been received in the first quarter.

Related topics Contract Manufacturing & Logistics

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