Isotope producer expands benzene and bromobenzene capacities

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories has recently announced a capacity expansion for deuterated benzene

Benzene distillation

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories (CIL), the supplier of stable isotopes and stable isotope-labelled compounds, has recently announced a capacity expansion for deuterated benzene at Cambridge Isotope Separations (CIS).

This capacity expansion started in the summer of 2019 and consisted of two new reactors being added; the first was active in January 2020 and the second new reactor came online this summer. To complete the final phase of this expansion, an additional distillation unit will be active by the end of 2020.

This is the first deuterated benzene capacity expansion at CIS since the process began in 2008.

"This investment in Xenia will increase our deuterated benzene capacity six times our current capability with additional capacity expansions easily achieved," said CEO Cliff Caldwell. "It also demonstrates our ability to bring this solution to scale, meeting the market's expectations for quality, pricing, and demand."

The capacity expansion of deuterated benzene has also allowed CIL to invest in new reactors to increase the production of deuterated bromobenzene in the Andover, Massachusetts, facility. "The increased output of benzene-d6 allows CIL to yield more deuterated bromobenzene per month," said VP of Operations Warren Arenz.

CIL's chemical synthesis group in Andover and the chemical engineering and isotope-separation group in Xenia continually work together to produce deuterated solvents and reagents for the growing analytical field and, more recently, for the increased demand in some new industrial applications for both the electronic and pharmaceutical markets.

Deuterated benzene is being used in the manufacture of electronics as it is proven to increase performance. By harnessing the kinetic isotope effect, these companies will have better-performing electronics, faster microprocessors, and an increased life span of their devices, including OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens.

Bromobenzene-d5 is used in the manufacturing of electronic components and OLED displays. Additionally, pharmaceutical companies and CMOs utilize bromobenzene-d5 to manufacture deuterated active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

A potential benefit of replacing the hydrogen atoms with deuterium atoms is that deuterated compounds can have a slower pharmacokinetic effect, extending the absorption and distribution in the body. This may decrease the number of doses a patient would require compared to its non-deuterated counterpart.