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Capsule based machines for the automated synthesis of organic molecules for drug discovery and medicinal chemistry

Project description

Automated synthesis using reagent capsules could revolutionise drug discovery

Synthesis is a key driver for drug discovery. Typically, a biological target is identified based on a clear understanding of the disease process. Initially, thousands of potential drug candidates might be screened for target activity. Based on the most promising hits, chemists synthesise arrays of similar compounds to optimise interaction with the target and overall properties. Conventionally, synthesis was done in batches using small flasks and vials. More recently, flow chemistry has become a popular alternative. Now, in AutoCapSyn, automated synthesisers using reagent capsules have been developed to enhance the speed and efficiency of synthesis while reducing exposure to harmful chemicals. EU funding is helping the team optimise the platform and explore the route to commercialisation.


Drug discovery continues to rely on the synthesis of tiny amounts of candidate molecules using unpredictable protocols that require highly trained specialists. As such, it remains expensive, time-consuming, unsafe, and environmentally unfriendly. Declining productivity, high costs, and safety issues, have driven a large amount of chemical synthesis to lower cost countries, which introduces delays and uncertainty in the drug discovery process, where the flexibility to rapidly prepare new molecules in response to biological data is critical to success.

In order to address these problems, Synple has developed an innovative, benchtop, capsule-based machine that synthesises new molecules at the touch of a button. This fully automated technology offers significant timesaving and productivity benefits. With all necessary components for the safe execution of the reaction and purification of the resulting products enclosed within the capsule, the user’s exposure to toxic agents will be minimised. Use of the automated machines with the innovative capsules will aid chemical research organisations as they can greatly simplify the way in which key chemical scaffolds are produced while providing a safer and more efficient work environment.

The first goal of this feasibility study is to determine if the technology is technically feasible in its current form (robustness and compatibility with customer’s current work flow). The second goal – exploration of the commercially feasibility − will be achieved by gaining a deeper insight in the market size and dynamics, as well as determining frequency of use. Upon successful completion of these goals, we aim to then establish the steps required for commercial launch. Key parameters include: defining the supply chain and pricing structure and identifying the most appropriate sales, marketing and distribution channels. Ultimately, Synple aims to use this feasibility study to identify the optimal route to becoming the market leader.

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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00