ONE-FLOW - a H2020 FET-OPEN European project with TU Eindhoven, University of Cambridge...

, by Claude De Bellefon

ONE-FLOW is a collaborative project selected by the H2020-EU “Excellent Science - Future and Emerging Technologies” FET-OPEN program for Research and Technological Development. The FET-OPEN program is very selective with a 3.5% success rate in 2016.

ONE-FLOW, with its acronym standing for “Catalyst Cascade Reactions in ‘One-Flow’ within a Compartmentalized, Green-Solvent ‘Digital Synthesis Machinery’ – End-to-End Green Process Design for Pharmaceuticals”, is being launched on January 1st 2017 as a 4-year project with a ca. 6 million Euro budget.

To run the project, a European Consortium involving seven academic teams from top European universities has been set with the aim at developing advanced continuous Flow Chemistry methodologies and tools. Besides the University of Lyon/CPE Lyon, the Consortium encompasses the University of Cambridge and the University of Hull in the UK, Eindhoven University of Technology (Coordinator) and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Graz University of Technology and MicroInnova in Austria and the University of Bielefeld in Germany.

At the CPE Lyon team, the project “ONE-FLOW” aims to transfer batch cascade reactions into Flow Chemistry processes. Cascades reactions in batch reactors are well practiced methodologies in which several reactants are added simultaneously or timewise into one well mixed reactor. The idea of flow cascade reactions is not a simple extension of batch cascades but it offers the possibility to perform difficult reactions that are hardly feasible in batch. For example, compartmentalization could be used to couple two reactions, the first leading to a reactive/unstable intermediate that could be immediately used/consumed with a second reaction in another compartment thus leading to better efficiency i.e. better yield and selectivity. Since the two chemistries are performed in two compartments, different reaction conditions and different catalysts may be used without undesirable cross-reactions. Fluidic systems involving segmented flow will be used for compartmentation to perform organo-, organometallic, enzymatic- and/or solid acid-base catalysis. Previous works have shown that a 3 phase (gas, liquid and solid) could be operated in segmented flow for hydrogenation reactions. Other multiphase systems such as liquid-liquid, gas-liquid-liquid could be developed depending on the targeted chemistries. The multistep synthesis of some 10 top drugs worldwide is targeted.