Novel catalyst process to enhance drug making

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chemical reaction

Researchers have developed a new catalyst process that offers
faster reaction rates, a substantially higher product yield and a
cleaner production process than is currently available in the
pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

Manufactures of fine chemicals are set to benefit from this new method, which was developed in response to request within the industry to find novel production routes and process intensification processes.

In addition to a more efficient process, this innovative manufacturing method promises to provide both economic and sustainability benefits by reducing the number of reaction steps required and hence a subsequently reducing time, energy and waste substances.

"It may also provide new ways to circumvent patented routes to certain important intermediates and chemicals,"​ said Dr Joost Reek, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

The researchers discovered what they call a one-pot synthesis of complex molecules, in which several chemical steps take place in a single reaction vessel.

Such an approach is very common in nature, for example, the life processes in a cell. However, in the laboratory and the chemical industry it is still in its infancy.

"We combined a biological enzyme-catalysed reaction step with a chemical metal-catalysed reaction step to form a new catalyst "biochemo" combination,"​ said Reek.

The resulting one-pot synthesis reaction resulted in faster reaction rates and a substantially higher yield, than the two separate reactions.

"These two processes are cooperative, thus they help each other,"​ said Reek.

In the past "biochemo" combinations have already been used for dynamic kinetic resolution, combining racemisation with functionalisation to allow highly enantioselective functionalisation at maximum product yield.

"Although such processes have been combined before, they have not been used in the same way - we have used a different approach, for a different purpose"​ said Reek.

No further details are available at this stage as the catalyst process is currently undergoing patent application. It is likely to be available commercially within the next few years.

The research project is one of nine projects currently running within the >NWO​ ACTS (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Advanced Chemical Technologies for Sustainability) programme IBOS (Integration of Biosynthesis and Organic Synthesis).

The cooperating partners in this project are Universiteit van Amsterdam, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven and the pharmaceutical company Synthon.

This is the first patent to evolve from the ACTS research project and the second phase of this project will be initiated soon.

Related topics Ingredients

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