International grant to fund research into sustainable chemical processes

John Blacker of iPRD has received a $50,000 grant from the American Chemical Society Green Institute (ACS GCI) Pharmaceutical Roundtable. His winning grant proposal is titled, “Process Development of Continuous Flow Oxidative Biotransformations.” With this award Blacker will research the use of continuous flow processing methods for biological catalysts that use oxygen, a clean oxidant. Continuous flow refers to a process for making chemical products using a continuous stream of inputs in a small reactor. IT is considered a safer alternative to the traditional method of large-scale batch processes.

“A key aspect of the research is to increase the reaction rates…through a variety of techniques including engineered enzymes, design of appropriate reactors and processes,” says Blacker. Working with a cross-disciplinary team consisting of ¬†biologist, chemist and engineer, Blacker hopes their research “will contribute towards greener methods for manufacturing complex organic chemicals.”

The roundtable identified priority green engineering research areas for pharmaceutical and fine chemical companies in 2011. The focus of this year’s grant awards is to catalyse research in continuous flow chemistry and engineering.

“Flow chemistry/continuous processing have shown great promise in modernising pharmaceutical production methods,” says Stefan Koeing, Ph.D., roundtable co-chair and scientist at Genetech in South San Francisco, California. “With these grants, the roundtable is funding cutting-edge methods that advance chemistry within the pharmaceutical industry and make it sustainable over the long-term.”

Blacker was one of three awardees. Since 2005, the roundtable has given $1.78 million dollars in research grants to advance the sustainability profile of pharmaceutical processes using green chemistry techniques. The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable brings global industry leaders together to catalyse the implementation of green chemistry and engineering. Current memebers include Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelhein, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Codexis, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson &Johnson, Merck &Co. Inc., Novartis, Pfizer Inc., Roche, Sanofi and ACS GCI. For more information about ACS GCI visit their website.