The £718,000 ($1m) grant, the second Reaxa has received from a UK agency in the last 12 months, will fund development of tethering catalysts based on pentamethylcyclopentadiene, or CP-STAR, ligand technology.
Specifically, Reaxa will aim to develop reusable metal catalysts that reduce the number of steps involved in pharmaceutical production and purification processes, with a focus on eliminating alkylating reagents.
Reaxa will lead the three year project, which will also involve drug majors AstraZeneca and Pfizer, researchers from Cambridge University and Leed’s University’s Institute of Process research and development (iPRD).
iPDR’s John Blacker, who was instrumental in development of CP-STAR technology while at biotechnology firm Avecia, will work with Reaxa on the project.
Reaxa CEO Pete Jackson predicted that: “The project will contribute to precious metal catalysis potentially becoming recognized as a technology of choice for increasingly complex pharma process chemistry.”
And, while Reaxa’s ambitions for the technology are understandable, the involvement of major pharmaceutical industry players suggests CP-STAR catalysts are already catching the eye of a drug industry keen to reduce manufacturing costs.
Dr Jackson also suggested that technologies developed during the project can help manufacturers meet increasingly strict safety limits being imposed by regulatory bodies worldwide.
“It is hoped to aid compliance with regulatory metal contamination requirements without costly and complex purification, while enabling the re-use of catalysts would reduce catalyst and solvent consumption, dramatically cutting the process loss and waste burden.”