Andrew Mansfield, Head of Flow Chemistry, Syrris
As 2019 gets under way, we’ve been thinking about what the future holds for continuous processing and flow chemistry in 2019 and beyond. Now this isn’t some Mystic Meg-style crystal ball gazing – we’re basing this on conversations we’ve had with chemists and business leaders, and general shifts in industry.
So what do we think will be big in continuous flow in 2019 and beyond?
Continuous flow scale-up will be big business
Continuous lab-scale flow is a fast-growing market thanks to the commercial availability and ease-of-use of lab scale flow chemistry systems. Lab scale flow has a number of benefits over traditional chemistry methods – some of which are outlined here in a previous blog post. In 2019, we predict that continuous flow scale-up systems will help the transition between research and discovery, and process development at pilot scale and beyond.
There are already a dozen existing API manufacturing processes that have been granted FDA approval and this will only increase following the FDA’s drive towards more continuous manufacturing. This is already driving the need for a robust method of scaling from the lab to the pilot plant. Syrris is currently developing Titan, a modular pilot-to-manufacturing scale continuous flow system, to help chemists develop their chemistry from lab-scale flow chemistry systems – such as the Asia Flow Chemistry System – to pilot and manufacturing scale production of their chemical processes.
Automated reaction self-optimization:
rise of the machine (learning)
A big area that has been developing for a few years is automated reaction self-optimization, and we envision this becoming commercially viable in 2019. With the integration of reaction analytics and flow chemistry, this emerging technology will allow the user, via automated methods, to optimize reactions and methods via machine learning (AI).
Reagentless chemistries on the rise
Thanks to the “green” efficiencies they provide – and the increasing number of conversations we’re having with customers from various industries – we predict that the use of reagentless chemistries such as electrochemistry and photochemistry will become more of a focus in 2019.
One of the reasons reagentless chemistries haven’t seen the traction they deserve is that performing them in traditional batch methods is notoriously difficult. Continuous flow chemistry systems make it easy, though, as this blog post on continuous flow electrochemistry explains.
Standard lab apparatus has made access to these chemistries restricted; the benefits of running these processes in a continuous fashion allows easier access, along with added benefits such as precise control of electron and photon transmission to the reactor.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Combining batch and flow technologies will enable chemists to leverage the best of both synthetic techniques. Both batch and flow techniques offer unique advantages in different scenarios and combining both with automated control
Reimagining old processes, such as API encapsulation
As our understanding of the range of microfluidic applications increases, we can start to explore these benefits in other processes. The development of techniques such as targeted drug delivery by the encapsulation of API material in polymer matrices allows companies to reformat and reimagine current patents to extend their life.
Blacktrace brands including Syrris and Dolomite Microfluidics are at the forefront of developing novel microfluidic processes that can enable lots of these new applications, so contact us to discuss reimagining your existing chemistries.
Beyond 2019: the future is end-to-end personalized medicine
One for beyond 2019: we see continuous flow chemistry as enabling personalized medicine in the future through end-to-end drug factories.
Imagine factories and machines processing raw materials and producing a tablet at the end, tailored to the customer on demand. Continuous flow chemistry could make the “Star Trek Replicator” a reality – for medicine, at least!
These processes already exist from raw materials to tablet, but they need to be heavily refined. Combining the unique benefits of batch and flow chemistry will enable these processes to be refined to the point of being commercially viable, allowing true end-to-end personalized medicines to emerge.
Continuous flow chemistry in 2019 and beyond: your thoughts?
What are your thoughts on the future of continuous flow chemistry in 2019 and beyond? Let us know in the comments section below!
Curious as to how continuous flow chemistry – or a combined batch and flow approach – could enable your lab to perform faster, more reliable, and more reproducible chemistry? Speak to Syrris today!
About Andrew Mansfield
Andrew was formerly a Research Chemist at Pfizer and spent much of his career focusing on introducing flow chemistry technologies, meaning Andrew is well placed to lead Syrris’ flow chemistry offering. Read Andrew’s bio here.