The technology encapsulates a nickel hydrogenation catalyst in a polymeric matrix designed to reduce degradation, prevent leeching and enable improved recycling during industrial processing.
According to the NWDA the grant will fund both an 18-month development project to scale-up Encat nickel (Ni EnCat) production to “viable levels” and enable Reaxa to produce supporting regulatory support documents.
Agency executive director Mark Hughes said Reaxa has already demonstrated its technical expertise and added that he is confident the new project will advance a technology for which there will be strong market demand.
Hughes explained that: “The pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industry is looking for a product such as Reaxa’s new EnCat catalyst, and we are delighted to be able to support… scale up.”
These thoughts were echoed by Reaxa's European sales director Ed Dutton, who told in-Pharmatechnologist that the grant funding will support the firm's efforts to scale-up Ni EnCat though partnerships with a number of Indian contract manufacturing organisations.
In a press statement on the NWDA website, Reaxa CEO Pete Jackson said that support from the NWDA has been essential to Reaxa’s efforts to develop nickel EnCat, particularly given the difficult economic environment over the last year.
He told the Engineer that: "We have already had significant interest from pharmaceutical companies on the back of our research results and this development project will allow us to get to the point of commercialisation."
Evidence of this demand emerged in September last year when, before the product was officially unveiled at CPhI 2008, Swiss contract manufacturer Rohnerchem began assessing the technology at its manufacturing facility in Pratteln near Basle.
At the time, Jackson explained that: “We are looking for an opportunity to demonstrate scale-up and Rohner is looking for new technologies so the collaboration is a good fit.”
More recently Reaxa has looked further afield. In October the firm set up a subsidiary in India to better serve its growing customer base in the country.
Reaxa also plans to extend its deal with local manufacturer S Amit & Co, which already produces and markets its EnCat and QuadraPure technologies, to include the manufacture of Ni EnCat.