University of Alberta chemical process licensed to GreenCentre holds promise for greener pharmaceutical production

18-Oct-2011 - Canada

A green chemical process with the potential to make production of pharmaceutical products more efficient and environmentally friendly has been licensed to GreenCentre Canada from the University of Alberta.

The process, developed by UAlberta chemist Dr. Dennis Hall, uses a novel, heavy-metal-free catalyst that can be used at room temperature without creating toxic by-products.  The catalyst is used to create amide bonds, one of the most common chemical components used in the preparation of pharmaceutical compounds.  Existing methods often require high temperatures and involve multiple steps and the addition of solvents or other toxic chemicals.

GreenCentre will work with Dr. Hall to scale up the catalyst and use it to make molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as to the agricultural and plastics industries.

“Better amide bond formation has been identified as a key research priority by the pharmaceutical industry, so this technology has the potential to fill an important product development need,” says Lynn Leger, Commercial Development Director at GreenCentre.  “It also shows promise as a source of new molecules for use in other industry sectors, so there is a fairly wide scope of potential here.”

The new GreenCentre license agreement was negotiated by TEC Edmonton, a not-for-profit venture between UAlberta and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) that transforms technologies into business opportunities.

"This is the first UAlberta green technology to be licensed by GreenCentre, marking what we believe is the beginning of a long, prosperous relationship," says Chris Lumb, CEO of TEC Edmonton.  "We look forward to this technology benefiting many industries and the environment, while adding to the well-deserved recognition of Canadian green chemistry research."

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