22. November 2023

Cinderella goes Industry – first multi-kg batches produced

Photolatent bases belong to that kind of compounds that are far less known than they should be with respect to their importance. These “Cinderella” molecules do not look exciting, they do not cure a life-threatening disease nor do they reverse climate change. However, triggered by light, they change their pKs value (their base strength) by four to five magnitudes. Such a huge pKs shift, in turn, can be used to initiate base catalyzed reactions – e.g. polymerisations. So, in the end, these inconspicuous molecules are essential components for applications in 3D-printing, new materials, functional dyes and self-healing surfaces.

It had been developed by the BASF some years ago before it was abandoned due to its expensive manufacturing process and despite a vivid market demand. Based on this background, chemists at both SCD Dr. Sommerlade Chemistry Design GmbH and ChiroBlock optimized the synthesis process and managed to minimize the production costs. Two months ago, the new process was transferred to a CMO and now the first multi – kg batches are being synthesized. The new process directly yields quite pure, crystalline product without the need to further purify this sensitive material. The competitive price together with this excellent quality allows addressing additional market segments such as diagnostics and health care.

During the recent weeks, several orders from European and American customers have been received. All do already know the good properties of the compound from the former BASF master batches but simply were not able to purchase more so far. Hence, we are confident to sell the first few ~ 50 kg batches in the first half of 2024 with a much higher demand in one year’s time.

The developmental story of this project is a very good example of ChiroBlock’s contribution to bridging the gap between r&d results on the one hand and the need for industrially viable synthesis processes on the other hand.

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