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News

New chiral intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry

BASF Aktiengesellschaft : 13 May, 2006  (New Product)
BASF has developed an innovative process for the production of new chiral intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry that are being made on a commercial scale. These additions expand the company's technology platform for producing optically active styrene oxides and aliphatic alcohols. The new BASF process, based on dehydrogenase biocatalysts, allows for the production of particularly high-purity substances that serve the pharmaceutical industry as important building blocks.
BASF has developed an innovative process for the production of new chiral intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry that are being made on a commercial scale. These additions expand the company's technology platform for producing optically active styrene oxides and aliphatic alcohols. The new BASF process, based on dehydrogenase biocatalysts, allows for the production of particularly high-purity substances that serve the pharmaceutical industry as important building blocks.

In addition, BASF is expanding its portfolio with two new, multi-faceted chiral amines: (R,R)- and (S,S)-Bis(1-phenylethyl)amine. These process chemicals can be used for the asymmetric synthesis of non natural amino acids and as starting materials for chiral bases (i.e., bases for the asymmetric deprotonation according to Simpkins).

Under the ChiPros brand, BASF is now supplying the world's largest range of chiral amines, alcohols and acids. More than ten years ago the company produced a chiral
1-phenylehtylamine based on a new bio-catalytic process for the first time. Since then, the 'ChiPros Building Block Set' has been enlarged continually. The life science industry, its principal customer, uses these products in complex processes to make new medicines and crop protection agents.

Structurally pure substances have the advantage of raising product efficiency and reducing undesirable effects. Physicians can therefore prescribe drugs with fewer side effects. It is for that very reason that the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration and its German counterpart, the Bundesinstitut fuer Arzneimittel and Medizinprodukte, prefer drugs based on structurally pure active ingredients. In agriculture, too, chiral building blocks provide advantages: farmers can apply lower quantities of pesticide and still get the desired results.

Enzymes, natural catalysts, play a major role in producing these coveted substances. Dr. Rolf Jansen of New Business Development in BASF's Intermediates Division, commented: 'Enzymes, as a rule, are extremely effective because these biocatalysts have been optimized through evolution for millions of years.' These processes make more effective use of starting materials, produce less waste and require less energy. New catalysts must be found constantly for pilot processes converted to industrial-scale production. Our search strategy is based on evolution: Changes in enzymes are made in the laboratory on the basis of mutation and selection. Darwin would find his thinking confirmed, with the difference that we accomplish needed change in days rather than millions of years. Thousands of enzyme variations are developed and screened with the aid of computers. Automatic systems test more than 50,000 substances daily. The most promising candidates are mutated and selected until the optimum enzyme has been achieved.
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