The grant has been given to Yale University chemistry professor Robert Crabtree for use in his research into developing catalysts derived from iron, copper and cobalt.
By using these metals instead of traditional materials, such as platinum, iridium and chloride, the American Chemical Society (ACS) believes the cost and environmental harm of drug manufacture could be reduced.
Andrew Wells, senior principal scientist, AstraZeneca Global Process R&D, and Peter Dunn, Pfizer Green Chemistry Lead, said in a joint statement: “Increasing the efficiency of synthetic routes using improved catalytic techniques and avoiding potentially mutagenic alkylating agents are high priorities for the pharmaceutical industry, and this research project promises to extend and improve the methodology that is available to the chemistry community.”
Crabtree has received $160,000 that he will use over the next two years to further his research into catalysts. His work into green catalytic reactions has includes the use of transfer hydrogenation with aldehydes, ketones, alkenes and imines.
In addition his research group has worked on green synthesis of amides. This was achieved by forming an oxaziridine and catalytically rearranging it to produce an amide.
Crabtree has focused his research on the development of chemistry that could have practical applications and be relatively easily incorporated into a company’ production processes.
The grant programme began in 2007 and since then has provided $650,000 for research into creating greener pathways to drug production.