Frequently Asked Questions

Custom synthesis service & contract research - FAQ

► What is custom synthesis? What is a cCRO? What is the difference to a mCRO, a CMO, or a CRAM? 

Custom synthesis means the exclusive synthesis of compounds on behalf of the customer, i.e., you can order a specific molecule that is only synthesized on your request on the scale, with the purity and with the specification or methods you require.
There is a big difference between the conditions used for small-scale custom synthesis of entirely new molecules and those used for standard multi ton per annum manufacturing, just as strictly regulated cGMP syntheses are different from those performed for R&D purposes. Learn more about the market of custom synthesis services, the different kinds of service providers (e.g., cCROS and CMOs) and how you can find the best provider for your projects.

Read more about custom synthesis services

► What are the costs and contract options for custom synthesis projects? How much does a compound cost? How do you calculate prices?

The costs for custom synthesis services differ substantially from project to project, which reflects not only the different prices of starting materials or number of synthesis steps, but also differences in risk profiles, R&D intensities, and requirements regarding purity, safety, documentation, and analytical specification.
We normally start with developing a synthetic approach toward your molecule, and the final pricing thus depends on the number of steps, costs of starting materials and reagents needed, and analytical investigations, required documentation, and special customer-specific requirements. Naturally, the price is also affected by scale and purity.
Moreover, one needs to be aware that first-time syntheses of novel molecules are not comparable to those of catalogue or "supply chain" compounds. Quite obviously, simple, reproducible, well-documented syntheses of standard chemicals are much cheaper than first-time, multi-step syntheses of novel compounds. The contract model also influences the pricing for the requested compound. Learn more about the different options and how they affect the costs for custom synthesis projects.

Read more about possible contract options and costs

► Do I have to pay a certain amount in advance? How much does a quote cost?

Despite the fact that the evaluation of every request causes a substantial amount of costs at ChiroBlock, we charge no advance fees and regard this chemical assessment as part of our service. Our quotes are free. Route scouting, evaluation of synthesis risks and chemicals costs are conducted by experienced PhD chemists taking advantage of proprietary internal processes and (software) tools. The quotation issued by our synthesis experts indicates the lead time, the costs for chemicals, working hours, and a risk evaluation. Furthermore, the depth of documentation is stated. As the preparation of the offer is quite complex, it may take up to 3-4 days for complex projects. Normally we offer the "Fee for Results"- contract option even for risky projects: We conduct the whole synthesis on our own expenses and will only charge you, if we can deliver the requested compound / the requested parameters of a new / optimized synthetic route.

► Which information should I have ready when asking for a quote?

The general answer to this question is: Provide as much information as possible. The more you specify your request, the better we can custom tailor our quote and service. As a rough indication - we normally would need the following information:

  • target structure (or if available CAS#, MDL#)
  • amount
  • chemical purity (e.g., 95%, 98%)
  • optical purity (de, ee) - if applicable
  • analytical methods for proving identity and purity (e.g., 1H/13C-NMR, MS, HPLC, SEC, EA)
  • special requirements regarding documentation/reporting

A certain flexibility on your side will always benefit the price we can offer. If you are not able to give "hard numbers", we would like to advise you to give us a range, that would be acceptable. If you feel not sure what data to request, we, of course assist you in setting these numbers.

► I am not entirely sure about the structure of my molecule (e.g., location of labeled atoms, complex biomolecule with specific properties). Can I place a request, too?

This is not an unusual task for us and actually one of our key competences: (small) molecule design and synthesis. We are very happy to assist you here, too. Please indicate at least "a frame or requirements" in your request. We will try to suggest synthetically accessible target structures meeting these basic requirements.

► Can you help me find the best "custom-tailored specification" so I receive an offer suitable to my problem?

In such a case it would be good to share your main goals  - and the challenges you are facing - with us. Together, we will define the appropriate specification options together with all the side conditions.

► The prosperity of my project is depending on a successful synthesis of the compound - are you able to give a guarantee for delivery (on time)?

We have a very high success rate of ~95% of projects finished based on fee-for-result (FFR) contracts. Only in rare cases with unpredictable circumstances we are forced to cancel an order. In general, if we agree on synthesizing your molecule, the chances are high for a successful finalization. We are also aware of the importance of the delivery time. Depending on the nature of the project, this parameter, however, is given a quite different priority. It is essential to communicate its importance when asking for a quote: Sometimes the overall success (to get the compound) is valued higher than the delivery time, other compounds simply become useless and worthless when not delivered on time.

► Will I get any information on the progress of the synthesis project? How detailed is the provided documentation of the synthesis?

You will get updated on the progress of your synthesis project at least on a bi-weekly basis. In regards to the scope of the provided documentation we offer 2 standard options. The specific needs of our divers customers vary from "no need for any process information" to "full documentation of all synthesis process steps". Please just indicate what your needs and expectations are and we are happy to provide you with all the information on the synthesis process you need.

► Why is ChiroBlock able to offer even highly risky synthesis on a fix-bid base? (Fee for Results - Fee for Service)

In contrast to other custom synthesis providers, we offer most of our projects (nearly 90%) on a "Fee for Results" contract model. Even for high-risk projects with uncertain outcomes, the customers only pay if we can deliver the requested compound or result. We cover the full R&D risks, utilizing a combination of our comprehensive experiences (about 5.000 reactions per year), proprietary software tools, and our established processes for managing difficult syntheses, internal and external know-how, quality, and risks. Last but not least: Our above-average qualified staff (mostly PhDs) and our will to perform the best service for our customers plus our passion for synthetic chemistry make us even more interested in the successful completion of your projects.

► I requested a quote for 1g and 2g - why is the price for 1g not half the price of 2g? Does the requested amount of the target compound has an influence on the pricing?

The custom synthesis business is not comparable to purchasing chemicals with a vendor offering products in a catalogue. This also can be seen with pricing. The main costs of a CRO project result from labor, purification and analytics and not from the starting materials. Hence prices do not rise or decline proportionally with increasing / decreasing target amounts. In most cases, scale effects are negligible, especially on very small scales from 10mg to 100 or even 500 mg.
This doesn't apply to larger amounts in the same way but still is different from catalogue prices where the synthesis costs of one batch can be allocated to several selling units. Once we established a validated synthesis and you need a regular supply from us ("SupplyChainFactory"), the relative product costs decrease substantially - especially for large amounts.

► Does the requested purity of the respective compound influence the pricing?

Yes, the higher the numbers, the higher the costs. The relation is exponential. There is a big difference between 95% and 99% - and even a larger difference between 99.0% and 99.99% - of proven (optical) purity. The reasons are manifold and obvious, e.g., increased purification efforts and the need to use larger amounts of intermediates/products for purer compounds (since much of these materials gets lost during purification).

► How can it be cheaper to outsource such a sophisticated service than doing the synthesis myself?

ChiroBlock actually sells solutions, i.e., we sell results not just resources that may or may not result in a solution! Thus, you only pay in the case of a successfully completed project. If we are not able to synthesize your molecule or it takes more efforts than anticipated, you don’t get charged a dime (extra). Apart from that, the obvious cost-saving advantages related to every outsourced service also apply here: you save fix costs at the expense of increased variable costs.

► What does ChiroBlock offer beyond small-scale synthesis? How do I proceed with a request here?

In addition to our MoleculeFactory Business, we offer contract manufacturing of exclusive fine chemicals (SupplyChainFactory) as well as route scouting services and revising/reworking of suboptimal synthetic routes to address specific problems (ReDesignFactory).

In the above case, we appreciate vivid communication beyond standard specifications (CAS, amount, analytics) to fully understand all facets of your request. Irrespective of whether you contact us by email or telephone, we are happy to assist you.

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