The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable Announces 2024 Industry Award Winners

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By ACS Green Chemistry Institute

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable announces PharmaBlock, Nanjing, China, as the winner of their 2024 CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award. Winning teams from GSK, Collegeville, Pa., and Boehringer Ingelheim, Ridgefield, Ct., will each receive a 2024 Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry and Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

By ACS Green Chemistry Institute

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable announces PharmaBlock, Nanjing, China, as the winner of their 2024 CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award. Winning teams from GSK, Collegeville, Pa., and Boehringer Ingelheim, Ridgefield, Ct., will each receive a 2024 Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry and Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

“It’s an absolute pleasure for the ACS GCIPR to be able to recognize through our Awards program these three fantastic examples of the application of the principles of Green Chemistry and Engineering having such a tangible impact on the sustainable manufacture of bioactive molecules, and exciting to witness so much creativity and innovation in this space not only from our awardees but also from all the terrific nominations that we received,” said Paul Richardson, Director at Pfizer.

Read on to learn more about the teams and technologies recognized by this year's awards.

2024 CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award Winner

The CMO Excellence in Green Chemistry Award seeks to recognize outstanding efforts by CMO companies in pharmaceutical green chemistry in support of pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing that demonstrate compelling environmental, safety, and/or efficiency improvements. The award recognizes greener advances in synthetic route development for starting materials, intermediates, or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), including reaction conditions and chemical or manufacturing technologies.

The PharmaBlock team was selected based on their innovative work on “Sustainable Manufacturing Process for Commercial and Developmental Stage Intermediates through Two Consecutive Flow Reactions using Micro-Packed Bed Technology.” Team members are Feng Zhang, Guangchao Ma, Dafen Wen, Yang Zhu, and Yuanxian Wang, all based in Nanjing, China. Their project demonstrated the use of micro-packed bed technology to produce tert-Butyl 3-oxoazetidine-1-carboxylate and tert-Butyl 3-aminoazetidine-1-carboxylate through oxidation reactions and reductive amination reactions at scale, resulting in improvements to safety, equipment volume efficiency, process mass intensity (PMI), greenness, and cost efficiency.

Figure 1. PharmaBlock’s micro-packed bed reactor was used in the oxidation and reduction steps.Figure 1. PharmaBlock’s micro-packed bed reactor was used in the oxidation and reduction steps.

2024 Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry & Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The Peter J. Dunn Award, established in 2016, recognizes outstanding industrial implementation of novel green chemistry and/or engineering in the pharmaceutical industry that demonstrates compelling environmental, safety, cost, and/or efficiency improvements over current technologies.

GSK’s winning submission demonstrated a more sustainable peptide manufacturing route for maleimidocaproyl monomethyl auristatin F (mcMMAF)—a drug used to treat multiple myeloma, a rare cancer affecting plasma cells. GSK team members being recognized are Danny Mancheno, Ian Andrews, Qiaogong Su, Kenneth Arrington, Mark Mellinger, Gregory Gilmartin, Aleksey Karulin, Anthony Nocket, John Kowalski, John Woodard (Collegeville, Pa.), and Chris Thickitt (Stevenage, UK). The first-generation route had already been commercialized and filed with the FDA however, GSK determined a more efficient route was needed. The team took on this complex challenge and developed a 2nd generation route that reduced solvent consumption by 16,160 kgs for every kilogram, greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent, and energy consumption by 76 percent. Additionally, the route eliminated all single-use silica gel chromatographic separations, achieving an overall 76 percent reduction in Process Mass Intensity (PMI).

Figure 2. GSK’s second-generation process to McMMAF.Figure 2. GSK’s second-generation process to McMMAF.

2024 Peter J. Dunn Award for Green Chemistry & Engineering Impact in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The Boehringer Ingelheim team—Yongda Zhang, Eugene Chong, Jada White, Suttipol Radomkit, Yibo Xu, Jon Lorenz, and Linglin Wu—was selected for their innovative work developing a short and eco-friendly manufacturing process for Spiroketone CD 7659—a common intermediate used in multiple projects within the company. The team’s new 3-step asymmetric synthesis route improved the yield nearly five-fold from 10 to 47 percent, reduced organic solvent usage by 99 percent, eliminated use of halogenated solvent, and reduced water usage by 76 percent. The sustainability achievements were further highlighted by a PMI of 117, 72 percent Relative Process Greenness (RPG) score, and an “excellent” innovation Green Aspiration Level (iGAL), placing it in the top 10 percent of industry processes (see the iGAL 2.0 scorecard in Figure 3). The team highlighted that their process can be scaled to meet and exceed a projected demand of more than 13 tons of the product which will result in saving more than 69,327,473 kg of waste compared to the initial process for one project.

Figure 3. This iGAL 2.0 scorecard shows the sustainability improvements of Boehringer Ingelheim’s new process for manufacturing Spiroketone CD 7659 over the incumbent process.Figure 3. This iGAL 2.0 scorecard shows the sustainability improvements of Boehringer Ingelheim’s new process for manufacturing Spiroketone CD 7659 over the incumbent process.

The winning teams will be honored at the Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference (GC&E) to be held June 2-5, in Atlanta, GA where they will receive their awards and present their work during a special symposium, “Advancing Sustainable Processes in Pharma and Allied Industries Utilizing Green Chemistry Innovations.”

Congratulations to the three teams for their hard work and achievements! The American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable (GCIPR) is a partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and over 40 pharmaceutical-related corporations united by a shared commitment to integrate the principles of green chemistry and engineering into the business of drug discovery and production. Learn more at www.acsgcipr.org.

In case you missed it: Read about the inaugural winner of the GCIPR’s Data Science and Modeling for Green Chemistry Award!