Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find way to clean up the drugs market

13.09.2004


Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a breakthrough by using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as a reaction medium for the preparation of molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Many industries throughout the world have begun using the non-toxic, environmentally friendly scCO2 as a solvent, replacing harsher volatile organic solvents, such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons. Until now it was not considered possible to make certain classes of molecules in CO2 because it was thought that they would react with the CO2.

Cambridge University’s Professor Andrew Holmes, Director of the Melville Laboratory, together with MIT’s Professors Rick Danheiser and Jefferson Tester, have changed all that by figuring out how to use scCO2 for reactions without it reacting with the reagents.



Since the 1990s, scCO2 has emerged as an environmentally benign substitute for more conventional solvents used for organic synthesis, such as those that enter the atmosphere from sprays and similar products. Dry cleaners, plastics manufacturers, food producers and various industries involved in the extraction of flavours and fragrances are already using the ‘benign’ solvent, resulting in more environmentally friendly industrial practices. Using scCO2 as the extractive agent to remove caffeine selectively and leave the flavour of fresh coffee, for example, produces decaffeinated coffee beans.

Although a greenhouse gas, scCO2 can be obtained in large quantities as a by-product of fermentation and combustion. The ready availability, coupled with its ease of removal and recycling, makes scCO2 an exciting prospect for synthetic and industrial applications.
Supercritical carbon dioxide is a supercritical fluid, so called because it is taken beyond its critical temperature, to a point where it’s neither a liquid nor a gas but retains both liquid-like solvent properties and gas-like densities.

Pharmaceutical companies have begun using scCO2 for processing drugs into powder consistently, but the researchers’ findings may soon mean that the entire manufacturing process can be integrated, using scCO2 for both synthesis and processing them into powders.

Organic solvents can always react in undesired ways, so an advantage to using this non-toxic supercritical fluid is that it reduces the chances for alternative and less-desired outcomes.

Another major advantage to using supercritical fluids for organic synthesis is the ability of these physical properties to be tuned simply by a change in pressure and/or temperature.

Professor Holmes dreams of helping the pharmaceutical industry streamline the drugs manufacturing process with the techniques he and his team have developed. “We’re making molecules of interest to pharmaceutical companies — aromatic amines — which are a key fragment in many neurological drugs. Before it was considered impossible, but we’ve got preparations of aromatic amine reactions to work in supercritical carbon dioxide.”

A patent has been filed on behalf of the work done at Cambridge and MIT, which was funded by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI). The researchers have published their findings in Chemical Communications, (The Royal Society of Chemistry) 2004.

In addition to the collaboration with MIT, the CMI project has enabled scientists at Cambridge to work closely with Professor Gerry Lawless and his team at the University of Sussex.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is one of a number of companies that has long been interested and supportive of Professor Holmes’ work in scCO2.

Tracy Moran | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cambridge-mit.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>