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Cell-Like ‘Molecular Assembly Lines’ of Programmable Reaction Sequences as Game-Changers in Chemical Synthesis

Project description

New method to achieve zero waste in chemical synthesis

The process of chemical synthesis is vital for a wide range of substances essential for daily life. The several process steps needed for effective synthesis during pharmaceutical drug production generates extensive amounts of unsustainable waste. The EU-funded CLASSY project envisages a method that will eliminate many process steps aiming towards generating no waste and becoming the ‘chemical factory of the future’. The project intends to develop an advanced chemical reactor inspired by how living systems regulate catalytic activity. It will radically change the manufacturing of chemical and pharmaceutical products and eliminate waste generation. The project is developed by a specialised consortium keen to produce new scientific knowledge on eco-friendly options for renewability, energy efficiency and sustainability.


Chemical synthesis requires several process steps, produces vast amounts of waste today, for example 25–100 kg of waste per kg of product for pharmaceutical drugs, and is thus inefficient and not sustainable. Our vision is to become a real game-changer for chemical synthesis and eliminate many process steps, resulting in close to zero waste streams and a sustainable ‘chemical factory of the future’.
To make this vision come true, the overarching aim of CLASSY is to develop a radically new type of chemical reactor inspired by the way in which living systems manage to modulate catalytic activity. The idea is that these reactors can self-regulate and perform multiple programmable reaction sequences by compartmentalisation of individual steps of the reaction sequence and replication of the molecular effectors that control the reactor’s catalytic activity. The use of microfluidic technology to compartmentalise individual steps of the reaction sequence and replicating molecular effectors to control the reactor activity constitute unique and highly innovative tools toward the project goals.

CLASSY will result in new flow reactors that act as cell-like molecular assembly lines, being able to synthesise a multitude of complex products in a single chemical reactor. These will have the capability to revolutionise the way chemical products, for example, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, are manufactured today.

CLASSY brings together 5 leading scientists in systems chemistry, replicating peptides, complex reaction networks, and peptide/enzyme catalysis. Their expertise will be combined with new microfluidic technology developed by a high-tech SME and an SME specialised in dissemination and exploitation of results. This highly interdisciplinary consortium will generate new scientific knowledge and novel technologies to support essential pillars for Europe`s future, such as renewability, sustainability, zero waste emissions and energetic efficiency.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 492 083,75
28049 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 492 083,75

Participants (7)