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 New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>