Automated reaction optimization for pharmaceutical labs

Automated reaction optimization for pharmaceutical labs


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  • Source: Uniqsis

  • Date: 05 Sep,2022

Steve Evans joined Uniqsis in 2017 to take on the role of International Sales Manager. Steve has a broad expertise of life sciences instrumentation including flow chemistry and microwave assisted organic synthesis. He has a wealth of experience having previously held commercial positions including sales, account development/management, sales team/distributor management, product/business development, global sales & marketing management. Steve has a BSc in chemistry. In January 2019 Steve took on the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Here I am sharing an interesting interaction with Steve Evans.

Can you tell me a little about Uniqsis, the continuous flow chemistry reactor technology you offer and applications you serve in the pharmaceutical industry?

Originally set up in 2007 as a spin out from the University of Cambridge (UK), Uniqsis has specialised in the design and supply of mesoscale continuous flow chemistry systems for a wide range of applications in chemical and pharmaceutical research.

The company’s objective is to make flow chemistry easily accessible to a wide range of users. Uniqsis’ product line has evolved over the years starting with the FlowSyn Multi Experiment System for running small numbers of reaction optimization experiments through to a high throughput reaction optimization flow chemistry system running large numbers of compound library synthesis called the Auto Loop Filling system or Auto LF.

Why should our readers be interested in implementing a continuous flow chemistry reactor in their lab?

Flow chemistry or continuous processing has been around for many years and is widely used by a growing range of industries. Traditionally, synthesis in chemical research labs relied on existing batch technologies and the technology here has remained similar for decades.

The benefits of implementing a continuous flow chemistry reactor to researchers are considerable and include. Reactions can be run faster by superheating reagents under pressure. Reactions can be run much more safely and reproducibly as smaller volumes per unit time are used in flow compared to conventional batch equivalent methods.

Steve Evans Chief Commercial officer, Uniqsis

Flow Chemistry is much easier to scale up to generate larger quantities once optimum conditions have been established in small scale reactions. Flow chemistry is greener (less solvent and input energy use) and reduces costs.

These widely acknowledged benefits mean researchers often can bring a new product faster to market by cutting down the number of reaction steps, increasing product yields and cutting down on the need for downstream purification/processing. Flow chemistry also reduces solvent waste and allows the research chemist to re-examine chemistries previously not accessed using conventional batch technologies for example exothermic chemistries.

What innovations has Uniqsis developed for automating reaction optimization and how does this benefit pharmaceutical scientists?

The implementation of the Uniqsis Auto Loop Filling system enables pharmaceutical chemists to run combinatorial flow library synthesis and optimization in an unattended fashion freeing up valuable time for you to perform other tasks.

Using such a system you can run up to 100 independent optimization experiments by automatically filling sample loops with the different reagents in many different combinations in a 2 or 4 reagent channel configuration.

Today, Uniqsis has the most comprehensive range of flow photoreactors on the market addressing from small scale reactions using the Borealis system to larger scale applications using the PhotoSyn.

Using an Auto LF you simply set up your automated reaction protocols and leave the system to do the rest. Users simply have to return at the end of the run sequence to find all the samples conveniently collected in the fraction collector in the designated vials that were set-up using the system software.

How widely are Uniqsis continuous flow reactors used in the Asia / Pacific region?

Uniqsis has chosen to work with experienced and knowledgeable local companies in all the main Asia/Pacific markets. While we have units implemented in research labs across the Asia / Pacific region, we have enjoyed particular success in Japan and China where the flow chemistry community is established and growing.  We have recently set up new partnerships with distributors in India and South Korea where we plan to attend major tradeshows for example India Lab Expo in Hyderabad, which runs from 15th to 17th September 2022.

What type of accessories for your FlowSyn and Flowlab Plus continuous flow   reactor systems are most used by pharmaceutical scientists worldwide?

As a company that has specialised in flow chemistry for over 15 years, Uniqsis are well known for their innovation.

For instance, our PhotoSyn high power LED photochemistry module and Flow-UV in-line UV-visible spectrometer are employed by pharmaceutical researchers using our FlowSyn and Flowlab Plus continuous flow reactor systems. Today, Uniqsis has the most comprehensive range of flow photoreactors on the market addressing from small scale reactions using the Borealis system to larger scale applications using the PhotoSyn. Uniqsis are constantly introducing new modules/accessories optimized for our range of dedicated flow reactor platforms as the challenges for research chemists to create new chemical entities get ever greater.

What do you see as the most important future trends in continuous flow chemistry and how might these developments benefit pharmaceutical scientists?

With its many benefits to chemical synthesis – flow chemistry has generated considerable attention and users over the last 20 years.

From a pharmaceutical perspective, a number of new enabling technologies, such as photochemistry, are providing more and more reasons for chemists to run reactions in flow rather than using batch techniques. Additionally, highly automated flow synthesis platforms have been developed that offer broad applicability across the pharmaceutical industry, ranging from advancing medicinal chemistry programs to self-optimizing chemical syntheses.

About Uniqsis: 

Uniqsis was founded in January 2007 and is an alliance between Asynt, the specialist supplier of organic synthesis apparatus, and Grant Instruments Ltd, the long-established scientific equipment manufacturer. Uniqsis is committed to developing innovative flow

chemistry products for customers in both the research and biopharmaceutical sector. This commitment is exemplified by the FlowSyn range of fully integrated flow reactors, designed and manufactured by Uniqsis, and now the research tool of choice for many research chemists across the world. For further information please visit    

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