Flow Chemistry: Continuous Synthesis and Purification of Pharmaceuticals - MIT Short Course

Monday, July 8 – Wednesday, July 10 2013

This event was posted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: MIT Campus | Cambridge, MA

For approximately two centuries, organic synthesis has generally been conducted in a batch mode (flasks, vessels). Currently, in contrast to nearly all other major manufacturing industries, pharmaceuticals utilize batch approaches to synthesis, with few exceptions. As economic and environmental pressures have increased, so has interest in continuous processes. Chemistry in flow provides exquisite control over reaction conditions, incorporates continuous separations and in-line recycling of reagents, and because reactor volumes are small compared to batch, significantly enhances safety. Scale-up to large production is achieved not with stepwise transitions to larger and larger vessels, but by knowledge based selection of the appropriate size, running multiple systems in parallel, and adjusting the time a system is in operation. Moreover, a much broader range of reaction conditions (temperature, pressure, and reaction time) and many classes of reactions that are impossible, hazardous, low-throughput, or capricious in batch are safely and conveniently achieved in flow.

This course will focus on the fundamental principles and technologies used in the continuous synthesis and purification of small molecules. The advantages and challenges of flow in comparison to batch will be discussed extensively. Advanced topics will include automation, scale-up strategies, cutting-edge methods of synthesis, and purification. Those who complete this course will not only possess a thorough knowledge base, but also will be able to make informed, systematic decisions in selecting between continuous or batch methods for a particular situation or project.


This course is designed for scientists and engineers in pharmaceutical and fine chemicals research, development, and manufacturing. The course will be of particular benefit to chemists and chemical engineers who are or are considering implementing continuous flow synthesis into their programs. Those who should attend include:

  • Chemists (Discovery/Medicinal and Process Development) and Chemical Engineers in pharmaceutical and fine chemicals research and development
  • Chemists and Chemical Engineers in pharmaceutical and fine chemicals manufacturing
  • Managers responsible for pharmaceutical fine chemicals research, development, and manufacturing


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