The commercial syntheses of many pharmaceutical active ingredients and intermediates require acid catalysts and the removal of water to drive reactions to completion. Typical reactions include esterifications of carboxylic acids with alcohols, Friedel-Crafts acylations and alkylations, Schiff base, acetal and ketal formation and nitrations of aromatic compounds. Although common mineral acids are typically employed as catalysts, they create issues with product purification, waste disposal, safety, the environment and homeland security. Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. (CMS) proposes to develop membrane reactors (MR) to enhance these processes and eliminate the problems created by existing acid catalysts. CMS proposes developing enhanced membrane reactors and demonstrating performance on relevant pharmaceutical reactants. CMS has obtained key industry experts to facilitate this program. In this program, CMS will fabricate the membrane reactors. The resultant MR will be used to run reactions of pharmaceutical interest such as the alkylation and nitration of aromatic compounds. Expectation is that the CMS membrane reactor will result in higher yields, faster reactions and less contaminated products relative to incumbent processes and will have a very long lifetime due to the perfluorinated nature of the polymer. Society will benefit due to the lower production costs for the products, option for synthesis at lower temperature to maximize API efficacy, minimization of waste products and elimination of the transport and storage of strong mineral acids.
Project Narrative The use of catalytic membrane reactors can replace acid catalysts in the synthesis of pharmaceutical products at lower cost and higher processing throughput.