Continuous flow

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Up until now, in synthesising drugs one had to choose between large-scale production or an environmentally friendly process. The Green Chemistry and Enabling Technologies group of the IBMM has solved this dilemma with their continuous flow metathesis process.


Medications produced in a responsible fashion

In a first, the Green Chemistry and Enabling Technologies research team of the Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron, in collaboration with researchers at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland), have shown that it is possible to carry out large-scale ring-closing metathesis reactions in dimethyl carbonate (DMC), an eco-compatible solvent, with a continuous flow process.

The solvents traditionally used for this chemical reaction have been replaced by DMC. While environmentally compatible, the switch was not at the price of efficiency. Only 37 minutes are needed to convert 10 grams of the dienyl reactant into the key dihydropyrrole intermediate.


Scale-up: a new imperative in pharmacological production processes

The continuous flow process allows scale-up to the level of industrial production, which is another positive aspect of this work by the group of Frédéric Lamaty. Indeed, the metathesis reaction has rarely been applied in industrial processes, so as to avoid using toxic solvents.

Using pumps, the reactants are flowed through a tube having a quite small diameter (< 1 mm); this allows both efficient mixing of the reactants and perfectly controlled homogeneous heating of the reaction mixture. To scale-up the reaction, the flow (and thus amount) of the reactants is simply increased.

This work, published in Green Chemistry, should contribute to the accelerated development and marketing of new drugs.


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