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Compound decomposition in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

Pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies store thousands
of compounds for high throughput screening. Some of these
are unstable and decompose. The project will examine
the causes of instability and develop predictive software.

Pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies discover new products by high throughput screening (HTS) of large numbers of compounds against biological targets. Typically, when 10,000 compounds are screened, a lead compound is discovered and then, by following such leads, one new product is eventually developed. Companies acquire and store hundreds of thousands of compounds for this process. Some of these compounds (conservative estimate: ten percent) are unstable and decompose during storage. Causes of this decomposition are handling (e.g. the solvents used)and storage conditions (thermal, hydrolytic and oxidative). No-one knows for sure how serious this problem is but everyone acknowledges that it does cost money because of the misleading HTS results from decomposed compounds. This project will examine the stability of compounds stored by companies using their own in-house analytical data. Several European pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies will provide their data for this study. At the same time, other sets of compounds will be selected at random and subjected to accelerated decomposition conditions (thermal, hydrolytic and oxidative) and analysed at regular intervals. The combined results will identify compound types which are likely to decompose during storage. On the basis of the results it is possible to protect compounds during storage but, to mitigate costs, the protective environment should be limited to only those compounds which really need it. Furthermore, predictive software which connects compound structure to observed instability will be developed. Companies will be able to use this software to predict the (in)stability of compounds and the causes. Keywords: compound decomposition.
Project ID: 
1 971
Start date: 
01-08-1998
Project Duration: 
97months
Project costs: 
1 260 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Knowledge Management, Process Management
Market Area: 
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.