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New synthetic technology for medicines and fine chemicals

Date:
April 15, 2015
Source:
University of Tokyo
Summary:
A research group has synthesized the medicine (R)- and (S)-rolipram in high yield with high selectivity by an innovative flow technology instead of the traditional batch method used in production of 99 percent of medicines. This was made possible by the development of high-activity immobilized catalysts and an innovative catalyzed flow fine synthesis.
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A University of Tokyo research group has succeeded in synthesizing (R)- and (S)-rolipram, the active component of a medicine, in high yield with high selectivity by an innovative catalyzed flow fine synthesis instead of the traditional batch method used in the production of 99% of medicines.

Professor Shu Kobayashi's group at the Graduate School of Science has developed highly active immobilized catalysts (heterogeneous catalysts) and demonstrated simple and highly efficient synthesis of (R)- and (S)-rolipram by an eight-step continuous flow reaction using multiple column reactors containing the immobilized catalysts.

Currently, the active components of medicines as well as other fine chemicals are synthesized by a repeated batch reaction method, in which all starting materials are mixed in reaction vessels and the desired compounds are extracted after the all reactions have finished. In this method excess energy and operational steps are needed and a significant amount of waste is generated.

Professor Kobayashi's application of flow chemistry techniques to the production of fine chemicals using heterogeneous catalysts has resulted in simple method to synthesize (R)- and (S)-rolipram without requiring the isolation or purification of intermediates, without excess amount of energy, and without purification of products from catalysts.

Professor Kobayashi says "This new technology can be applied to not only other gamma-aminobutyric acids and medicines but also various chemicals such as flavors, agricultural chemicals, and functional materials. In the future, if this innovative catalyzed flow fine synthesis is established as an original Japanese technology, we can hope for significant development of the chemical, pharmaceutical and related industries and recovery of high skill manufacturing in Japan."


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Materials provided by University of Tokyo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tetsu Tsubogo, Hidekazu Oyamada, Shū Kobayashi. Multistep continuous-flow synthesis of (R)- and (S)-rolipram using heterogeneous catalysts. Nature, 2015; 520 (7547): 329 DOI: 10.1038/nature14343

Cite This Page:

University of Tokyo. "New synthetic technology for medicines and fine chemicals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415133304.htm>.
University of Tokyo. (2015, April 15). New synthetic technology for medicines and fine chemicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415133304.htm
University of Tokyo. "New synthetic technology for medicines and fine chemicals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415133304.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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