29th Process Development Symposium

16 Jan 2012

The 29th SCI Process Development Symposium organised by the SCI Fine Chemicals Group was held at Churchill College Cambridge from 7 - 9 December 2011. An audience of over 160 was treated to 18 lectures over three days. Delegates came from across Europe, Asia, North America and even Australia, invited speakers were from Europe and North America and there was a strong presence of exhibitors as well.

This year's conference was particularly noted for its variety, there was a strong line up of speakers who gave case studies from across industry or described recent advances in technology. Notable contributions came from Dr Kevin Cole (Lilly, US) in his case study on a novel vanadium catalysed arylation in process development, and Prof Xiong-Wei Ni (NiTech Solutions Ltd, UK) whose presentation on plug flow continuous reactors and crystallisers highlighted the application of these technologies to the smooth scale up from lab to pilot to full scale manufacturing.

Dr Colin Brennan (Syngenta, UK) gave an interesting account of how a detailed mechanistic understanding can lead to improved processes. Dr Chris Wallis (GSK, UK) demonstrated the importance of control of physical properties of the API with its application to fluticasone furoate, the active ingredient in Veramyst/Avamyst, a promising new treatment for allergic rhinitis.

The development of catalytic processes and technologies was a strong theme throughout the meeting with the benefits to scale-up demonstrated by Dr Paul Murray (CatSci Ltd, UK) and Dr André de Vries (DSM, The Netherlands). Fittingly, the GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Syngenta and Pfizer Prize for Process Chemistry Research for 2011 was presented to Professor Michael Greaney (University of Manchester), pictured, for his work on new catalytic methodology and developments in the chemistry of benzynes.

His lecture highlighted recent contributions such as direct arylations 'on water', C-H cross-coupling to give medium size ring systems and decarboxylative cross-coupling. Academia was further represented by Professor Adam Nelson (University of Leeds) on the development of synthetic methods for the systematic exploration of chemical space.

To encourage future generations of process chemists, nine PhD students from UK institutions received bursaries to attend and all found the experience to be interesting and enjoyable.

After a very successful meeting which really emphasised the strength of the process development discipline, the organisers and delegates can look forward with anticipation to the next event. A LinkedIn group has also been set up for attendees, and the latest news regarding the 2012 event can be found on the Process Development Symposia page on the SCI website, below.

Dr Alan Ironmonger, GSK and SCI Fine Chemicals Group.

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