The Challenge

Implementation of Smart chemistry is integral to the business strategy of the chemical using industries. It allows the sector to deliver new or existing products through a more ecologically sound route and can leverage significant cost savings and commercial advantage

Pharmaceutical and speciality chemical companies have synthetic priorities aimed at improving raw material use and a shift towards more benign manufacturing routes. Synthetic and catalytic approaches need further development in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for quicker and more effective drug discovery. Practically this means the implementation of more effective (greener) chemical synthesis through approaches such as 100% efficient synthesis (increasing the molecular efficiency of a process), development of the use of alternative (or no) solvents and the use of approaches such as flow chemistry. The use of catalysis is a key part of this equation and new catalytic approaches enable substantial improvements in existing process and access to the use of biologically derived feedstocks for fuel and raw materials.

To fully exploit innovation as effectively as possible there needs to be a strong and effective link between industry and academia and between the different functions in the development process, from research and development chemists to process chemist and engineers. Multi-functional teams need to be engaged at an early stage in the innovation process such that the results are industry relevant, scalable and genuinely sustainable. Processing and product work-up and separation are integral to a sustainable process and innovation is also essential here through the introduction of approaches such as intensification techniques (approaches to integrate reaction and separation steps) and improved methods of separation and membrane technology.

Smart chemistry is critically important across the full spectrum of the chemical using industries. Sustainable manufacture of fine chemicals is incorporated into the sustainable processes for product manufacture which ranges from materials to coatings and formulated products. Sustainability also impacts on materials chemistry from catalyst design to the design of nanoparticles.

Chemistry Innovation's position paper on the challenges facing the pharma and fine chemicals sector can be found here