SBIR Phase I: 'Smart Filter' for Fast Chemical Reaction Clean-up
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
Rigid Solutions LLC
P.O. Box 1554, Shelbyville, KY, 40066-1554
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project entitled ?Smart Filter for Fast Chemical Reaction Clean-up? tackles an important problem in the manufacturing industry, namely, the labor-intensive nature of chemical synthesis and its hazardous conditions, which, unfortunately, have not changed much in the last 60 years. Our novel concept of ?rigid solvent extraction? speeds up reaction clean-up, by elimination of the liquid-liquid extraction step. The idea is very simple: reactions are conducted in the usual way and quenched with a suitable aqueous solution; however, instead of using relatively large amounts of organic solvent to extract the aqueous/organic mixture, we use a solid supported organic liquid phase (that we call a ?rigid solvent? phase). ?Rigid solvents? are easier to handle than liquids. Our clean-up cartridge design is also simple, it is a cartridge filled with highly porous rigid organic polymer. The reaction cleanup cartridges address the technology gap that exists between the deployment of high throughput synthesis and the analytical advances in chromatography columns. Because the workup step that lies between the synthesis of a compound and its final purification is laborious our technology will significantly close that gap providing an efficient and safe handling alternative of potentially hazardous chemistries. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lies in its potential to reduce costs and improve safety in chemical operations during the discovery stage of most chemical manufacturing processes, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, or advanced materials, a large number of compounds need to be prepared in amounts that range from mg to g or kg. An estimated 10,000 compounds are tested on average during drug discovery and preclinical stages in order to come up with one successful drug. And the individual synthesis of these thousands of compounds require between five to ten synthetic steps each from commercially available raw materials. The sheer number of compounds that need to be synthesized constitutes a nightmare scenario for medicinal chemists. The labor intensive nature of reaction clean-ups and rising labor costs have caused the outsourcing of synthetic chemistry work, traditionally conducted in the US, to other developing countries that have cheaper labor, less stringent worker protection, and lax waste disposal regulations. Our company ? Rigid Solutions, aims to develop an automation product that can make synthetic chemistry less labor-intensive and offer better protection for workers from hazardous substances, thereby reducing labor costs, synthesis time, and waste, and helping to keep chemical synthesis jobs in the US.
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