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Collaboration commercializing technology for reusing complex catalysts

By Scott Jenkins |

The manufacture of pharmaceuticals and many fine chemicals requires costly, toxic catalysts with metal atoms bonded to complex organic ligands that catalyze the creation of chiral centers. Current processes often use homogeneous (dissolved) chiral catalysts and batch processing, an approach that requires extra steps to separate catalyst from products, a process that often destroys the catalyst or makes catalyst recycling difficult. Now, GreenCentre Canada (Kingston, Ont.; www.greencentrecanada.com), a not-for-profit organization that commercializes technologies developed in academic laboratories, and Chiral Technologies (West Chester, Pa.; www.chiraltech.com), a company specializing in enantioselective separation of racemic mixtures, are jointly commercializing a technology from the University of Alberta and TEC Edmonton (Edmonton, Alta.; www.ualberta.ca, www.tecedmonton.com) that allows continuous use of these catalysts in flow reactors without leaching of the catalyst into the product stream. The technology enables dramatically better recyclability. In this invention, the chiral catalyst can be physically attached to solid supports to allow heterogeneous catalysis in flow systems, or if preferred, in batch. Research by Alberta…
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