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Asymchem Recognized for Excellence in Green Chemistry

Honored Contributor
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Over the last decade, a steady shift towards a more global pharmaceutical supply chain has occurred. Today, a significant portion of API manufacturing is carried out by contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), many located in Asian countries.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR), established in 2005, is a leading partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and over 40 pharmaceutical and allied companies committed to catalyzing green chemistry and engineering in the industry.

In order to encourage further integration of green chemistry and engineering approaches throughout the global pharmaceutical supply chain, the ACS GCIPR established a new award last year to recognize outstanding efforts by Asian CMOs in pharmaceutical green chemistry.

The CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award recognizes achievements in support of pharmaceutical research, development and manufacturing that demonstrate compelling environmental, safety and/or efficiency improvements. 

The Inaugural CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award goes to Asymchem, located in Tianjin, China, for “Leveraging innovative manufacturing technologies to deliver sustainable processes: A production-scale continuous [2 + 2] photocycloaddition to prepare a key raw material.”

Asymchem developed a continuous gas-liquid biphasic photochemical cycloaddition of maleic anhydride with ethylene as a scalable and sustainable solution for the production-scale preparation of a pharmaceutically relevant cyclobutene derivative to be used as a key intermediate in an API synthesis for the partner pharmaceutical company Amgen. By working with the process design and by fabricating new equipment, Asymchem was able to reduce the number of synthetic steps by five, eliminate use of hazardous reagents, and reduce waste by 72% compared to the existing manufacturing route. 

Pictures of the production-scale photochemical skid measuring ~2m tall, capable of producing 5 kg/day of cyclobutane 1. Photo Credit: AsymchemPictures of the production-scale photochemical skid measuring ~2m tall, capable of producing 5 kg/day of cyclobutane 1. Photo Credit: Asymchem


The Award will be presented at the 26th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference during a symposium on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Reston, Virginia. For more information on the award, please see