Almac Sciences and Queen’s University Belfast Collaboration Successfully Flows Through Mid-point

September 22, 2021

Continuing to expand technology capabilities through Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Craigavon, Northern Ireland –  22nd September 2021 – Almac Sciences, a member of the Almac Group, has  successfully reached the midway point of its continuous flow technology project made possible through an Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast.

The aim of the Innovate UK funded KTP is to further enhance established flow technologies platforms at Almac Sciences. The technology will be used for development and manufacture of key raw materials and unlock capacity to perform challenging chemical transformations. The KTP scheme supports business growth through identification of new skills and transfer of the latest academic concepts to deliver a strategic innovation programme.

Modular flow technology for continuous manufacture of chemicals is one of the most exciting technologies in the international pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. There have been significant efforts in the design of flow equipment and processes globally which includes multi-phase flow reactors, gas/liquid mixers and structured catalysts to offer manufacturing flexibility and robustness in continuous production of chemicals.

The Almac team is now delighted to report its KTP project has passed the mid-point with multiple successful outcomes including dissemination through peer-reviewed publication and several conference presentations detailing the development of a continuous flow packed bed catalytic process for hydrogenation of aromatic nitrobenzoic acids to produce corresponding anilines.

Academic Supervisor, Dr Haresh Manyar, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at QUB, commented “The hydrogenations under investigation are more efficient, less consumptive and safer than the corresponding batch process. Various industrially important aromatic anilines were produced in excellent yields with high throughputs. A continuous flow approach meant no evidence of genotoxic intermediates and, with the modular reactor design, it can be scaled to produce several kilos without extensive redesign.’ He added ‘This unique collaboration with Almac Sciences is a key milestone for Catalysis research at QUB and we are delighted to work together to advance flow technology within an industrial setting.”

For Almac Sciences, the KTP has a positive reach through increasing competitiveness and productivity with a recent investment of £325,000 in continuous flow, including flow hydrogenation capabilities of up to 100 bar pressure and 300°C. Dr Megan Smyth, Technical Leader, Almac Sciences discussed the positive impact the KTP project has had on the expansion of service offerings within the Technology Group adding, “the ongoing successful knowledge transfer has allowed Almac to deliver kilogram manufacture of product for our customers.”

Dr Scott Wharry, Custom and Flow Chemistry Manager and Company Supervisor, Almac Sciences said “Research and innovation are at the heart of what we do on a daily basis within our Technology group. This KTP project has not only increased capacity but has allowed in-depth understanding on which we can build a platform capability which will underpin future process development and further innovation. I wish the team continued success and look forward to seeing the final outcome of the project.”



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