Reaxa expands catalyst portfolio

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Catalysis Hydrogen Reaxa

British chemical products and technologies firm Reaxa has launched
a new encapsulated catalyst for market trials. Platinum EnCat is a
platinum nanoparticle catalyst encapsulated within polymer beads,
intended for the hydrogenation of pharmaceutical intermediates.

Reaxa's range of EnCat catalysts use a polymeric matrix that reduces degradation of the catalyst and prevents leeching, whilst also allowing simple separation and reuse.

Reaxa claims that the new product allows for easier, faster and cleaner processes to be developed, and is safer than traditional alternatives such as platinum on carbon catalysts, which can spontaneously ignite.

The company also claims increased selectivity as a further benefit, in contrast to other catalysts which can be less successful with regard to hydrogenation of sensitive substrates.

"Reaxa's Pt EnCat technology also offers significant improvements in product yield due to improved selectivity, for example in the reduction of chlorinated aromatic nitro compounds to the corresponding chloroaniline derivative without dechlorination, as often seen with other supported platinum catalysts"​ said Dr Pete Jackson, Reaxa CEO.

Precious metal technologies such as this are becoming more widely used, particularly in drug production. Several challenges are associated with their use, however, particularly with regard to preventing loss of costly catalysts and metal contamination of end products.

Regulatory authorities set stringent guidelines regarding maximum acceptable levels of metal residues in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), as well as foodstuffs and cosmetics.

"To meet tough agendas in compliance, complexity and cost in large scale pharma synthesis, Reaxa's EnCat immobilized precious metal catalysts and associated technologies look to simplify processes, reduce contamination in products and process waste and aid recovery and re-cycling of increasingly expensive catalyst,"​ Jackson said.

"The challenge is to re-engineer complex processes to deliver cleaner products at higher efficiency and lower total cost of production. In the case of one customer 's process, Reaxa's EnCat technology offers a 50 per cent reduction in solvent required, a 20 per cent improvement in cycle time and a pure API yield increase of 10 per cent."

Prior to the platinum EnCat, the most recent addition to the company's product line was osmium EnCat, providing a safer alternative to the highly toxic un-encapsulated osmium tetroxide and an addition to the company's range of palladium Encats.

Reaxa's ongoing research into application of EnCats and metal scavengers in flow microwave chemistry aims to open the way to contaminant removal in continuous, high intensity, high efficiency processes.

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