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ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable and Rutgers University's "Catalysis in Green Chemistry" Symposium

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ACS GCI kicked off October in New Brunswick, NJ with the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable. As you may know, the Institute convenes the Pharmaceutical, Formulators', and Chemical Manufacturer's Roundtables to promote the implementation of green chemistry and engineering in their respective industries.  The groups meet several times a year to check in and keep moving forward with ongoing projects, ranging from grant programs to green chemistry and engineering tools. October 2nd and 3rd were action-packed days spent at the 2013 Fall Pharmaceutical Roundtable Meeting, hosted by member company Bristol-Myers Squibb. This meeting was particularly special since it was followed by the Pharmaceutical Roundtable’s first stand-alone symposium! With the goal of bringing together leading scientists focusing on catalysis research to speak to students and industry, the symposium was co-organized by Rutgers University’s Catalysis Research Center and the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, and sponsored by Digital Specialty Chemicals, HEL Inc., Johnson Matthey, Pfizer, and TCI America.

Faces from industry and academia packed a lecture hall of the Rutgers Life Sciences building to hear the six featured scientists. Overall, the day was filled with discussions of how to achieve more selective, precious metal-free, or even metal-free catalytic conditions. Dave Leahy from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Professor Lawrence Williams from Rutgers opened the morning with a hearty welcome and introduced the first talk by Professor Scott Miller, the Irénée du Pont Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Yale University, who focused on the use of peptides as catalysts for asymmetric bond formations. Professor Gary Molander, the Hirschmann-Makineni Professor of Chemistry at University of Pennsylvania, walked us through alternative routes to boronic acids and their derivatives. “Infringing on Mother Nature’s intellectual property” was the theme of the talk from Dr. Greg Hughes, the Executive Director of Enabling Technologies in the Process Chemistry division at Merck which has been expanding its use of enzyme catalysis. 2013 Pharma RT Symposium 061.jpg

From left: David Leahy (Bristol-Myers Squibb; ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable co-chair), Greg Hughes (Merck), Paul Chirik

(Princeton University), Gary Molander (University of Pennsylvania), Michael Krische (UT-Austin), Scott Miller (Yale University), Dalibor

Sames (Columbia University), Juan Colberg (Pfizer; ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable co-chair), Lawrence Williams (Rutgers University)

With his research team in the audience Professor Paul Chirik, the Edward S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, dove into his base-metal catalysis work. Chirik and his team have embraced iron and cobalt's distinctreactivity compared to precious metals in order to create new catalysts for asymmetric hydrogenation and other reactions.  Professor Dalibor Sames in the Department of Chemistry at Columbia Universitypresented on C-H bond functionalization leading to greater access of drug metabolites. Wrapping up the afternoon, Professor Michael Krische, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, spoke about hiswork on C-C bond formation via byproduct free hydrogenation conditions.

And it wouldn’t be a proper chemistry event without a student poster competition! The poster session showcased 27 posters from both academia and industry. Judges from the Roundtable and organizing committee had the task of selecting one student who best presented their research to win an iPod nano and a free student registration to the 2014 Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.

2013 Pharma RT Symposium 051.jpg

From left: Roundtable co-chair Dave Leahy with the poster session winner Jennifer Obligacion,

and the honorable mentions Chang Min and Max Friedfeld.

Congratulations to Jennifer Obligacion, a second year graduate student from Princeton University, who won the symposium’s student poster competition for her work on base metal-catalyzed hydroboration of alkenes. The honorable mentions were Chang Min from Rutgers University and Max Friedfeld from Princeton University, and they also took home free student conference registrations.

Green chemistry and engineering thought leadership and implementation requires all hands on deck from industry, academia, etc., and the Roundtables have a pivotal role to play. Symposiums like this are one way to accelerate the conversation. Attendees deemed this event a success, and as one speaker said, “the Roundtable is like the Jedi Knights of pharma,” so it’s safe to say that this symposium was productive for all audiences involved. The Pharmaceutical Roundtable as well as the Formulators' and Chemical Manufacturer’s Roundtables work year round on critical green chemistry issues, so keep an eye out for forthcoming Roundtable events and tools!

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