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Predictions for Continuous Flow Chemistry

An article by Andrew Mansfield, Head of Flow Chemistry at Syrris.


What does the future hold for continuous processing and flow chemistry in the upcoming years?


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Looking at general shifts in the industry, as well as based on conversations with chemists and business leaders from multiple industries, the Syrris flow chemistry expert was able to reach some important considerations regarding the future of flow chemistry:


Curious as to how continuous flow chemistry – or a combined batch and flow approach – could enable your lab to perform faster, more reliably, and with more reproducible chemistry?

Then continue reading!

If you have questions regarding Flow Chemistry that are not covered by this article, or want to discuss your chemistry application further, we will be happy to help.

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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 "9 Reasons to Perform Flow Chemistry”. 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.

Systems like the the Titan, a modular pilot-to-manufacturing scale continuous flow system, will 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-optimisation: rise of the machine (learning)

A big area that has been developing for a few years is automated reaction self-optimisation, 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 optimised reactions and methods via machine learning (AI).

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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.

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.

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.


Batch & Flow: 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 enables the widest range of chemistry to be carried out.

This will be key in the development of multi-stepped, telescoped reaction methodologies.


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.

Both Syrris and Dolomite Microfluidics are at the forefront of developing novel microfluidic processes that can enable lots of these new applications.

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The future is end-to-end personalised medicine

Beyond 2019: we see continuous flow chemistry as enabling personalised 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 personalised medicines to emerge.


Want to Know More About Continuous Flow Chemistry?

Be sure to check out the range of chemistry automation solutions we have available on our website and have a read on other Automated Chemistry articles: 5 Benefits of Automated Chemistry Systems, 9 Reasons to Perform Flow Chemistry and Flow Chemistry: Basics & Key Elements

If you have any questions or issues regarding continuous flow chemistry, be sure to contact our Sales Team. We will be happy to help you with all your chemistry needs and requirements.

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