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 The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>