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ACS, RSC Collaborate On Symposium

by Linda R. Raber
November 23, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 47

The ACS Northeastern Section (NESACS) and the U.S. Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry sponsored the inaugural "Bench to Pilot Plant" symposium late last month in Cambridge, Mass. The event was attended by 170 scientists from across New England and included an exhibition that attracted 16 vendors.

"For several years now the medicinal chemistry population of NESACS has held a one-day symposium in the spring. It seemed a logical extension to begin a complementary fall symposium focused on process R&D chemistry," says Donald Walker, chair of the symposium's organizing committee.

Merck & Co. chemist R. P. (Skip) Volante opened the technical component of the symposium with a talk titled "Innovation as the Driver of Green Chemistry Advances in the Pharmaceutical Industry." He focused on a key step in a large-scale synthesis and showed how it is possible, using an enzymatic reaction, to improve reaction yield and dramatically reduce process cost in an environmentally friendly way.

Dean Toste of the University of California, Berkeley, presented his work, titled "Gold(I) Catalysts for Organic Synthesis." His presentation focused on the synthetic versatility of various Au(I) catalysts for synthesis of diverse structural motifs, their use in asymmetric reactions, and research directed toward the use of immobilized Au(I) catalysts in flow cells for large-scale synthesis.

Robert Norrie of AMRI in Albany, N.Y., delivered the talk "Adventures in Scale-Up—Case Studies and Lessons Learned." Norrie illustrated some process R&D chemistry dos and don'ts in his presentation, which featured scale-up results for a new nucleoside drug.

After lunch, Joel M. Hawkins of Pfizer in Groton, Conn., presented a lecture titled "Case Studies of Heterocyclic Chemistry Highlighting Flow Chemistry and Reaction Profiling." His presentation focused on the utility and power of continuous-flow systems and their value in helping control production costs and save space.

Sheila G. Magil of BioProcess Technology Consultants, in Acton, Mass., provided an overview of the many challenges and opportunities associated with developing biological products in her talk, titled "From Clone to Clinic: Developing a Biotechnology Product."

The final talk of the day was by Karl Hansen of Amgen in Cambridge, Mass., and was titled "Process Research & Development: Searching for the Ultimate Synthesis." His presentation walked the audience through a process R&D quest to improve the synthesis for a new drug.



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