Reusing homogeneous chiral catalysts: innovation for the pharmaceutical industry

Thursday, 25. July 2013

Spin-out DexLeChem develops new resource-efficient reaction routes for active pharmaceutical ingredients production

DexLeChem: Fabian Spittank, Regina Böttcher, Martin Rahmel, Sonja Jost

Spittank, Böttcher, Rahmel, and Jost

Sonja Jost, former research associate of Prof. Reinhard Schomäcker, who is a member of UniCat’s Executive Board, invented a new sustainable process where homogeneous chiral catalysts can be reused -  several times and unmodified. This invention was the beginning of DexLeChem.

Industrially implemented chiral catalysts for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) production cost up to 200.000 €/kg. State of the art is that those catalysts can't be reused without any further modification. Due to an increasing proportion of chiral substances the demand of catalysts will also rise. In 2020 up to 90% of all newly registered pharmaceuticals will be based on chiral substances. Therefore new production processes are needed; in particular considering their sustainability potential.

From a sustainability viewpoint water is the most preferred solvent. The innovation of DexLeChem is based on the use of water and other environmentally friendly solvents. This enables the reuse of unmodified chiral catalysts.

"Inspired by the twelve principles of green chemistry I started my research.  Based on the first very good results I decided to establish a company. So that the marketable idea does not end up in a drawer but on the market where it belongs", says Sonja Jost.

After two years of  funding by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology with the most valuable program EXIST – Forschungstransfer for high-tech innovations DexLeChem ventured 2013 into a German GmbH.

For further information, please contact:

Regina Böttcher
℅ TU Berlin- TC 03
Straße des 17. Juni 124
10623 Berlin

Phone: 49 177 2392677 
E-Mail: boettcher(at)