European Commission awards €7.7 million to mechanochemistry project

€7.7 million has been awarded to IMPACTIVE by the European Commission to study mechanochemistry as a sustainable method for synthesising active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

European Commission awards €7.7 million to mechanochemistry project

The European Commission (EC) has awarded IMPACTIVE almost €7.7 million to study the possibilities of mechanochemistry in the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

The ‘green’ project is a collaboration led by the University of Montpellier, in France. It is anticipated to reinvent and reinforce the pharmaceutical supply chain. The mechanochemistry initiative is funded by Horizon Europe and works with 17 partners in academia and industry working together towards greener chemistry.

What is mechanochemistry?

Mechanochemistry mashes molecules together using ball mills. The mechanical force drives the chemical reactions with high efficacy and low cost.

Shifting the pharma industry towards greener manufacturing

Cost reduction and efficient manufacturing could help Europe tackle the current fragility of the supply chain, linked to severe shortages in drugs and pharmaceuticals. Mechanochemistry could become a key tool to improve crisis preparedness and API development during emergencies.

Solvents are usually the basis of all traditional reactions and often linked to the generation of high quantities of toxic waste. Currently, manufacturing one kilogram of active pharmaceutical ingredients is linked with the production almost 200 kilograms of waste.

“Overall, mechanochemistry avoids high temperatures and hazardous solvents, providing a more environmentally friendly alternative that reduces waste, and maximises efficiency,” explains IMPACTIVE coordinator Evelina Colacino, based at the University of Montpellier. “These concepts constitute gold standards of green chemistry and the circular economy, and IMPACTIVE wants to transfer them to the European pharmaceutical landscape.”

Article by Dave Elder: Green chemistry…

The most recent results report that mechanochemistry could reduce ecotoxicity and carbon emissions by up to 85 percent and, at the same time, optimise production costs by 12 percent.

IMPACTIVE will study the synthesis of three families of API. The project will work to a develop pilot production process ready for scale up.

Two of the partners for the mechanochemistry project are Novartis and Merck, who will help facilitate and accelerate the commercial implementation of the technology.

The two companies will investigate other mechanochemical methods, more suitable for the scales required by pharmaceutical manufacturers. These methods include twin-screw extrusion, resonant acoustic mixing and spray drying.

The consortium for IMPACTIVE includes:

University of Montpellier, France

SATT Axlr, France

Radboud Universiteit, Netherlands

Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Taltech, Estonia

BAM Institut, Germany

RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, Germany

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Technion, Israel

Center for Colloid and Surface Science (Universities of Cagliari, Parma and Salerno), Italy

IST-ID, Portugal

DES-Solutio, Portugal

AGATA Comunicación Científica, Spain

Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale (HES·SO), Switzerland

MERCK, Switzerland

Novartis, Switzerland