TSB Industrial Collaboration

Working with pharmaceutical industry and academic partners, YProTech were part of a 3-year, £1.4M Technology Strategy Board (TSB) supported research program to develop new immobilised precious metal catalysts. This industry-led project addressed new approaches to process chemistry based on advances in synthetic methods.

The project investigated 'tethering' of new catalyst ligands to solid supports (such as polymer beads or porous surfaces) to prevent catalyst and reagent residues ending up in products and allows re-use and recycling, along with new flow manufacturing processes.

The target benefits to the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech sectors include:

  • compliance with regulatory metal contamination limits in drug manufacture without expensive purification processes, reducing the need for plant cleaning;
  • enabling use of novel catalysts, including chemistry to avoid alkylating reagents in pharma synthesis;
  • enabling re-use of catalysts, reducing catalyst and solvent consumption, reducing use of limited specialist metal resources;
  • designing 'scaleability' and ‘recyclability’ into new catalyst systems for application in commercial processes, supporting resource and process intensification.
    • YProTech's contribution to the project was the development of an immobilised metal catalyst, carrying out the scale-up of its synthesis to 10s-of-grams scale and supplying material for testing by other project partners. The immobilised catalyst was shown to be effective in a number of racemisation and reductive processes, with applications in flow being especially effective. A flow column of immoblised catalyst has been used >50 times without loss of activity.

Solid Support Custom Synthesis

A biotechnology company asked us to prepare specialist functionalised supports and materials for the biochemistry sector. A range of supports were manufactured, and working closely with the customer, their properties were optimised to maximise performance in the target applications. The high purity of the materials required was a key aspect of the work.

Process Optimisation / Scale-Up

We worked with a medicinal chemistry company on the process optimisation and scale-up of a synthetic route to a new pharmaceutical target. We scaled up the route to 30 g batch size, with technology transfer information made available for further scale-up. A problem step in the synthesis was extensively investigated and optimised to give consistent improved yields.