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Flow Chemistry Goes Mainstream

World-renowned chemist explores improved synthesis with Syrris’s AFRICA microreactor

Royston, UK – After a successful trial period, Syrris have signed an agreement and supplied one of their new AFRICA microreactor systems to Professor Steven Ley from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge (UK). His Chemistry group will use AFRICA to develop new techniques to advance flow chemistry.

AFRICA, a flow microreactor, allows Research & Development chemists to accelerate compound synthesis and reaction optimization. Professor Ley, former president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, has a proven track record in developing new synthetic methods and catalysts. Commenting on the new agreement Professor Ley said “I’m confident that AFRICA has tremendous potential and it can be the ideal tool for fast method development. Chemists will now be able to explore new reactions that until now have not been possible due to the limitations of more traditional methods.”

AFRICA is already well-proven for many standard reactions such as condensations, ring formation, multi-component reactions (eg Passerini), substitutions, esterifications and deprotections. “We’ll be using AFRICA to carry out a programme of multi-step synthesis work. We’ve already demonstrated that flow is well suited for combining homogeneous reactions with the use of immobilised reagents, and that we get the benefits of fast optimisation and small scale” said Professor Ley.

AFRICA is a modular flow microreactor in which small quantities of material are continuously injected and reacted together. Parameters such as reaction time, temperature and stoichiometry are easy to change in real time and a series of reactions can be set up, run and analysed overnight – reducing reaction optimisation time.

Professor Ley selected Syrris as the ideal partner for the collaborative development of this innovative technology because of Syrris’s position as the leader in flow chemistry technology. Under the co-operation agreement, Syrris provides the University with an AFRICA system, and the University of Cambridge provides laboratory facilities, chemists and analytical capability. Both groups benefit from the rapid development of new flow chemistry and technology.