In a Nutshell—Summing up the Analytical Chemistry Session at GC&E 2021

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Contributed by Christine Aurigemma, Pfizer, San Diego, CA, USA

The “Integration of Greener, Process-Friendly Approaches for Monitoring Reactions for Pharmaceutical End-Game Chemistry” session featured quality speakers from industry and academia, including the Chief Scientific Officer of a chemistry CRO, on a broad spectrum of topics from microfluidics to process analytics at the plant scale. These presentations touched on various green and sustainable tools and techniques for improving process control while reducing waste and were in alignment with the conference theme "Sustainable Production to Advance the Circular Economy." 

The session was kicked off by Dr. Ashleigh Theberge, Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington, who gave an update of her group’s work using a droplet-based approach in open microfluidic channels using passive forces (capillaries) for "on demand” flow reactions. More information on this research can be found in the Analytical Chemistry article “Open Microfluidic Capillary Systems.”  

Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) approaches were well-represented with Eric Fang, CSO of Snapdragon Chemistry, discussing their QC strategy for reducing lengthy manufacturing cycle times, using continuous flow reactors coupled with PAT to give rapid, real-time data to enable autonomous reaction monitoring, optimization, and scale-up. In a different approach, Zachary Dance of Merck Research Labs presented their use of in-line PAT in small molecule process development to accelerate compound filing and commercialization timelines. In Merck’s case, PAT helped chemists quickly and efficiently generate and analyze data in real-time across process R&D while improving their mechanistic understanding of reactions to maximize scalability and process robustness. Ernie Hillier of EJH Consulting discussed the necessity of Quality by Design integrated with PAT (online chromatography) to overcome data challenges in manufacturing process control.

To support corporate sustainability efforts, Kaitlyn Grinias provided an overview of GSK’s commitment to sustainability through fully automated workflows. Integrating miniaturized analytical instrumentation such as the Axcend Compact LC to their automated platforms not only expedited efforts across their portfolio but significantly reduced solvent consumption and waste generation across these workflows. Another way to impact sustainability was presented by John Wasylyk, where he demonstrated the significance of utilizing open-access, spectroscopy-based instruments across BMS to rapidly determine the quality and stability of commercial reagents used by chemists and engineers. The impact of analyzing reagents used in chemical reactions and in manufacturing translated to substantial time and energy-saving benefits to the company, as well as meeting corporate requirements for greener and more sustainable practices.

These talks attest to the importance of analytical chemistry in green chemistry and sustainability efforts, and industry will only benefit from more innovation in this space. 

Note: If you registered for the 2021 GC&E Conference, but missed these talks, please be sure to catch them On Demand before August 16.