Electrochemistry amps up in pharma

November 06, 2019

Sparked by several high-profile reports, electrochemistry -- using electricity to perform chemical reactions like oxidation and reduction -- is gaining popularity in the pharmaceutical field. Some researchers have embraced the technology as a tool to synthesize compounds that are difficult or impossible to make using traditional chemical reagents, and to do so in a safer, more environmentally friendly way, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Synthetic organic chemists typically use reducing reagents to introduce electrons to molecules and oxidizing reagents to strip them out. But sometimes, it can be difficult to change one part of a molecule without affecting the rest of it. In addition, many of these reagents are harsh and generate lots of waste, which can create safety concerns and disposal problems. In contrast, electrochemistry offers more selectivity in adding or removing electrons from chemical groups, along with producing less waste and toxic byproducts, Senior Correspondent Bethany Halford writes.

When medicinal chemists first began experimenting with electrochemistry, they often cobbled together large, inefficient setups to perform the technique. However, in 2017 a collaboration between a synthetic organic chemist and an instrument maker resulted in the ElectraSyn 2.0, an electrochemistry module that combines several bulky devices into a sleek, efficient package, opening up the technology to chemists who aren't electronics whizzes. Now, researchers have published several high-profile reports in which they used electrochemistry to construct drugs and other molecules that couldn't be made (easily or at all) by traditional routes. The biggest remaining challenge is converting from lab-scale production, which is what the ElectraSyn 2.0 offers, to intermediate- and large-scale synthesis without having to completely re-engineer the system, process chemists say.
The article, "Amping up the pharma lab: Drug companies explore the potential of electrochemistry," is freely available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Technology Articles from Brightsurf:

December issue SLAS Technology features 'advances in technology to address COVID-19'
The December issue of SLAS Technology is a special collection featuring the cover article, ''Advances in Technology to Address COVID-19'' by editors Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Ph.D., (National University of Singapore), Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., (The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) and Xianting Ding, Ph.D., (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China).

October issue SLAS Technology now available
The October issue of SLAS Technology features the cover article, 'Role of Digital Microfl-uidics in Enabling Access to Laboratory Automation and Making Biology Programmable' by Varun B.

Robot technology for everyone or only for the average person?
Robot technology is being used more and more in health rehabilitation and in working life.

Novel biomarker technology for cancer diagnostics
A new way of identifying cancer biomarkers has been developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.

Technology innovation for neurology
TU Graz researcher Francesco Greco has developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

April's SLAS Technology is now available
April's Edition of SLAS Technology Features Cover Article, 'CURATE.AI: Optimizing Personalized Medicine with Artificial Intelligence'.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

Post-lithium technology
Next-generation batteries will probably see the replacement of lithium ions by more abundant and environmentally benign alkali metal or multivalent ions.

Rethinking the role of technology in the classroom
Introducing tablets and laptops to the classroom has certain educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests that tech has its limitations as well.

The science and technology of FAST
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a radio quiet zone, with the targets (e.g., radio pulsars and neutron stars, galactic and extragalactic 21-cm HI emission).

Read More: Technology News and Technology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.