Helsinn invests in low temperature reactor

Published: 26-Jul-2010

Has versatility to perform reactions with strong reagents

Helsinn Advanced Synthesis, a division of the Swiss Helsinn Group, has invested CHF800,000 in a state-of-the-art facility at its Biasca site that fulfils the growing needs of its customers. The commercial scale reactor will be fully operational by the middle of August.

The project was in two stages. The first involved building a cryogenic plant for the generation and distribution of a utility fluid at –90°C, which was achieved by installing a liquid nitrogen storage tank unit outside the facility.

The second involved the installation of an R51 synthesis reactor with a heating/cooling unit suitable for processing new products.

The new double half-coil reactor has a net volume of 2,500L. It is made from Hastelloy HC2000, a nickel-based material. The temperature operating range is from –80°C to +140°C and the pressure operating range from full vacuum to +9 Barg.

Helsinn says the Hastelloy reactor has the versatility to perform reactions with very strong reagents. Very low temperatures are usually needed, for example, when using alkyl halide bases such as hexyl lithium, butyl lithium, lithium diisopropylamine, as well as alkylating agents such as Grignard reagents and for reductive agents such as lithium aluminium hydrid.

The company says a wide set of organometallics reactions are driven by low temperatures and these processes are fundamental in the synthesis of pharmaceutical molecules.

In the coming months the low temperature reactor will be used for manufacturing products for third party projects and for the synthesis of Helsinn’s Netupitant product.

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