More sustainable pharmaceuticals

More sustainable pharmaceuticals

Chemistry researchers at the University of Bath have developed a new method using blue light to create pharmaceuticals in a more sustainable way, significantly reducing the amount of energy needed and the chemical waste created in the manufacture process.

Synthesising small-molecule drugs normally requires several steps, each one creating waste products and solvent waste – these are often toxic and difficult to dispose of safely.

Currently, it is estimated that for every kilogram of drug made, around 100 kg of waste is produced, making it a hugely inefficient process.

The team at Bath, led by Dr Alex Cresswell, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the University’s Department of Chemistry, has developed a new way of synthesising nitrogen-containing chemicals called primary amines, which are used in more than half of all pharmaceuticals.

The method uses a catalyst, activated by blue light, to speed up the reaction, and uses fewer steps, less energy and dramatically cuts down the waste created by drug development.

Read more here


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