Girindus adds microwave capability

Related tags Chemical reaction Chemistry

German contract development and manufacturing company Girindus has
installed a microwave system at its plant in the US, reflecting a
growing trend in the sector to use microwaves to improve reaction

The new installation at its facilities in Cinicinnati, Ohio, will be used to rapidly produce compounds to support the medicinal chemistry and process development activities at the site.

"Use of this technology results in shorter reaction times, reduced thermal degradation and higher yields compared to conventional heating methods,"​ said Mark Laskovics, president of Girindus America and Cincinnati site manager.

In contrast to traditional heat transfer techniques, microwave energy passes freely through the reactor walls and is introduced rapidly and uniformly to the entire reaction mixture.

Reactions that might have to for several hours in a conventional oil bath may be completed in as little as five minutes using microwave stimulation. And this means that it can sometimes take longer to set up a reaction than to actually run it.

This allows organic chemists to work faster, generating higher yields with increased product purity, and to scale experiments up reliably from milligrams to much larger quantities without the need to alter reaction parameters. It offers more precise control over conditions of temperature and pressure than any previous technology.

Ultimately, by eliminating much of the time and effort from the process of performing chemical reactions, it allows chemists to focus on what is most important-the development of new compounds, or refined methods for generating known products.

There are two main players in the microwave synthesis equipment market, CEM and Biotage, and CEM was the lucky recipient of Girindus' order. Adam Mazur, head of medicinal chemistry at Girindus North America, told​ that the company plumped for CEM as the system's flexibility was more suitable for Girindus' purposes.

Specifically, he noted that the system's modular function means that Girindus could in time add in flow injection capabilities that could allow it to scale up synthesis into the kilo range.

Girnidus has opted for an Explorer system, which has an autosampler function and a list price of around $39,000.

Mazur noted that microwave synthesis is still only being used in smaller scales and has yet to be adopted on an industrial scale, mainly due to logistical difficulties. For example, it gets harder to maintain homogeneity in microwaves in larger systems.

Of course, this raises the possibility that medicinal chemists could come up with a compound using microwave synthesis that might be impossible to scale-up using conventional means, although this eventuality has not yet been reported.

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