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Some Elements are More Equal Than Others

In George Orwell’s classic 1945 novella ‘Animal Farm’ the revolutionary livestock develop the slogan “Four legs good, two legs bad” to summarize their views on the farmer and other humans. As the novella progresses, we see that things cannot be simplified so readily, and so I was encouraged by the recent excellent article by Brianna

The Importance of Mentors and Teachers 

In my previous blog I referred to changes in learning models for industrial chemists described in an editorial in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry by Dean G. Brown on ‘Adapting to the Changing Landscape of Biotech-Driven Drug Discovery’ (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.3c02035) that I discovered through Derek Lowe’s ‘In The Pipeline’ blog titled ‘The Current Industry Landscape’

Changing Models for Training Industrial Chemists 

Derek Lowe’s ‘In The Pipeline’ blog titled ‘The Current Industry Landscape’ on 27 Nov 2023 alerted me to an excellent overview editorial in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry by Dean G. Brown on ‘Adapting to the Changing Landscape of Biotech-Driven Drug Discovery’ (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.3c02035). One thing that struck me as I read both the blog

Safety and Scale-Up

When I first started working as an industrial process chemist one of my more experienced colleagues told me that you can only really know how well a process performs until you run it on at least a 5 kg scale. I found that to be good advice but as I developed my skills in the

Two New Reactor Types for Rapid Electrochemistry Scale-Up

The resurgence of electrochemistry in medicinal chemistry laboratories has created the demand for the rapid delivery of up to a few kilograms of material by the same methods in order to quickly evaluate whether the candidate molecule is a viable clinical candidate or not. Electrochemical processes have been successfully scaled up to commercial scale using

The Value of a Good Experimental Write-Up

A well-written experimental protocol is one of the hallmarks of good process chemistry that we teach at Scientific Update in our Chemical Development course, so in this blog I thought I’d highlight an excellent example recently published in an open-access article by Nicholas Isley and Fabrice Gallou from Novartis (Helv. Chim. Acta 2023, 106, e202300143,

A New Application for a Classic Piece of Apparatus

A recent paper from a Dutch team brings together two items that have fascinated me since graduate school in a way that comes in the category of “I can’t believe nobody thought of that before!” (Chem. Commun., 2023, 59, 3838) The ability to upgrade the enantiomeric excess of a solid by recrystallization The use of

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

One of my recent bugaboos has been the increase in the number of papers claiming a “green” synthesis, reagent, process or solvent. It seems that I am not alone in my concerns of the misuse of words such as “green” and “sustainable” based on a recent paper called ‘What does it mean that “something is

Pd Atom Catalysis – What’s Going On?

A number of years ago, during a scale-up campaign, I worked to try and convert a relatively simple, high-yielding Suzuki coupling from a relatively standard set of homogeneous coupling conditions to heterogeneous conditions using a palladium on carbon (Pd/C) catalyst. The reason for making the change was that although the homogeneous conditions worked very well,

Hall of Mirrors

Biocatalysis has the potential to transform how process chemists make molecules, both in terms of improving existing routes to be more sustainable, and to enable shorter new routes via transformations not feasible using chemical methods. A recent review by a team at Pfizer (S.P. France et. al. JACS Au 2023, 3, 715-735) gives an excellent

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