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Answering Compound Synthesis Requests

Posted on August 10th, 2017 by in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence


When potential client approaches a chemicals company with a production request, they want to know if the company can fulfill the request, how quickly and at what cost. That seems like a fairly straightforward question and response, but there’s a lot to consider when answering a compound synthesis request.

The type of request influences the information needed to give the response. For example, the request could be for a known substance but using a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly or sustainable method. It could be to produce a new compound that is similar to a known one. It might even be for a completely new molecule. The client might want a particular methodology or they might want the whole synthesis to be designed by the chemicals manufacturer.

That means that whenever a request comes in, the scientist must turn to the literature. In a recent interview, Dr. Rabih-Gabriel Jaouhari, R&D Director and General Manager of global chemicals supplier PR euroCHEM was kind enough to explain how he handles these situations:

“When a request comes in, I look for literature to see what has already been done related to that compound. If the client wants us to use a particular methodology, I assess that synthesis and make sure it is viable and efficient. If they ask for a new compound, I must not only ensure that it is indeed a new compound, but also that there is a valid synthesis method that will generate the requested quantities at a cost the client can afford. To prove the validity of a method and justify our cost, time and resource estimates, we must have evidence. But we can’t just find one piece of evidence and assume that is proof: we have to correlate it with evidence from other sources. It’s critical that we have access to a wide range of literature and to patents.”

The cost considerations are interesting, because they also depend on the amount requested, as Dr. Jaouhari explained: “People imagine that there’s a linear progression of cost—that 10 grams of a substance will cost 10 times more than a single gram, and 50 grams 50 times more, and so on. But that’s not the case. It can be extremely expensive to scale up production to higher volumes; or it can be cost-ineffective to generate a very low volume.”
Dr. Jaouhari paints an interesting picture of the research required to establish the viability and cost of a synthesis before any lab work is even done. There are certainly a lot of questions to be answered and it must take an experienced scientist to correlate all the information needed and communicate it to the client.
PR euroCHEM understands the need for quick and accurate searches in the early stages of a project. In this case study, Dr. Jaouhari explains why he chooses Reaxys to find information to support his responses to clients.

Read the case study


All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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