Sunday, June 7, 2015

The magic formula in formulation chemistry

Here is an article in Chemistry World about formulation chemistry in the UK. It has some interesting points that apply for all of you developing ALD chemistries and maybe also ALD for micro-encapsulation like in the story on Nanexa a some weeks ago (here). It is written by Simon Rushworth whom you might know from Epichem, he was later the lead for high value manufacturing at the UK Knowledge Transfer Network and is now lead for collaborative R&D at Epivalence

The full article can be found here: Flexible, faster formulation

The magic formula

Formulation chemistry is an important area where consumer demand for new and improved products, available on ever-shortening timescales, is driving the decisions multinational companies make about where and how to invest in production assets. The UK government recently recognised this with a £20 million investment in a national formulation centre.

One of the most valuable goals for formulation is minimising the amount of chemical required to give a desired result. This is about more than just enhancing the efficacy of the active ingredients; it is about directing where those ingredients are delivered. Reducing the amount of chemical gives a better product, improves sustainability, supports mass customisation and reduces the cost.

In this regard, microencapsulation has received a lot of attention recently. It was initially developed for the agrichemical sector to deliver pesticides efficiently while avoiding harmful exposure, but it became a way to improve the performance of existing pesticides at a time when the regulatory climate was, in effect, preventing new pesticide development. Later, triggers were built in to break down the microcapsule walls using light, or to break them down using basic or acidic conditions, depending on the application. These advances are now spreading to pharmaceuticals, fragrances, textiles and many other sectors - the same technology could allow, for example, anticancer drugs to be selectively released in cancer cells.

Selective encapsulation is scientifically very challenging, but high-tech spin-out companies such as Aqdotare developing technologies with the potential to make huge changes to manufacturing. Aqdot’s technology won support from Innovate UK, via its 2013 formulation competition, and was then recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry with an Emerging Technologies award in 2014.