WP2 – Chemo- Catalysis and Flow Processing

WP2 is concerned with the development of sustainable chemical catalysts and processes. The focus is on the use of abundant and low toxicity first row transition metal catalysts such as iron, nickel and copper and their use in transformations that have been selected by the project EFPIA members as being of most value in improving drug manufacture. These include: aromatic C-H activation to make C-O, C-C and C-N bonds; chiral amines; amide formation; chiral quaternary centres; fluorination. A number of groups are evaluating these transformations in continuous flow and using heterogenized and immobilized catalysts to achieve this. To be effective these reactions also require efficient work-up and product isolation so methods including continuous extraction, distillation, crystallization and membranes are being evaluated. The value of this work lies in the application to real systems with demonstrably green and economic processes. The industrial and academic groups are collaborating by applying the methods to a number of real drugs from the WHO list of Essential Medicines.

WP2 activities include:

  • Evaluation of new base metal and organo- catalysts used in variety of valuable synthetic procedures for application in sustainable drug manufacture.
  • Improved use of precious metal based catalysts through immobilization, encapsulation and separation
  • Application of continuous flow methodology in reaction and work-up to improve efficiency
  • Efficient methods for C-C, C-O and C-N bond formation including aromatic functionalisation, amides, chiral amines, chiral quaternary centres, fluorinated heterocycles
  • Application to Essential Medicine targets to demonstrate methods can be used in sustainable manufacture


Figure 1: An essential activity in WP2 is the development of chemo-catalytic flow processes for sustainable manufacture of pharmaceuticals