September 18-19, 2019, Asymchem co-hosted the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable with the mission to promote green and sustainable development of the global pharmaceutical industry in Beijing and Tianjin, China. Experts and scholars from the government, academia, and the industry gathered together to share China’s achievements and experiences in green chemistry in recent years. As well as to discuss how to reduce the environmental impact of the pharmaceutical industry through green chemistry technology. The forum also provides a platform for global pharmaceutical companies to understand the dynamics of Chinese eco-environmental regulation and promote green & sustainable development exchange and cooperation.

ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable

The ACS (American Chemical Society), was chartered by the United States Congress in 1876. Its mission is to promote the development of the broader chemical industry and its practitioners for the benefit of the planet and humanity, to improve people’s quality of life. Today, ACS has over 150,000 members in more than 140 countries and is the largest scientific society in the world.

Founded in 1997, GCI (Green Chemistry Institute), is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing green chemistry. In January 2001, GCI joined the American Chemical Society (ACS) to address the global environmental problems posed by chemistry. The board of directors of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable consists of members from government, industry, and academia providing valuable insight and influence to leaders throughout the world.

In 2005, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and several large pharmaceutical companies joined forces to launch the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable to encourage innovation and promote the implementation of green chemistry and green engineering in the pharmaceutical industry.

Member companies participating in the Pharmaceutical Roundtable are engaged in innovative R&D of environmental technologies through cooperation, research, promoting green chemistry education, guiding the industry, and introducing an awareness of green chemistry world-wide. To date, the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable has allocated more than $2 million (USD) to develop key technologies for green chemistry and engineering. In addition, the round table continues to develop tools to guide green production, including a solvent selection guide and a PMI/LCA calculator. The organization is accelerating the development of green chemistry globally by leading and influencing the entire industry and supply chain through the cooperation of its worldwide members.

Focus on China

With China’s economic boom and the growing importance of sustainable development, the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable held a forum in Beijing under the theme of “Recent Developments in China’s Environmental Regulations and their Impact on the Pharmaceutical Industry”. The forum was moderated by Dr. James Gage, CSO of Asymchem, and Dr. Li Xiaoliang, from the Environmental Planning Institute of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China. Attendees and speakers included Dr. Xie Hui, Chief Expert of the Environmental Planning Institute of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and Judicial Expert of the Supreme People’s Court on Environmental Resources, Bao Guoxiang, Director of EHS of BMS, Yang Zhenrong, Director of EHS of Johnson & Johnson China, and Kuang Yan, Vice President of EHS of Asymchem. Dr. Frank Roschangar, Co-Chair of ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, David Constable, Director of Science and Technology, Isamir Martinez, Project Manager, and representatives from leading global pharmaceutical companies such as Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, Roche, Takeda and others participated in roundtable discussions.

The form’s topics spanned:

  • Chinese major environmental regulatory initiatives and its role in environmental improvement in recent years
  • Opportunities for chemical and pharmaceutical companies to apply technology solutions to improve air and environmental quality
  • Social responsibility of domestic enterprises for green and sustainable development
  • Outlook on environmental regulatory trends in Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical industries

On September 19, ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable members from all over the world visited Asymchem’s headquarter in Tianjin and held a quarterly meeting to discuss the R&D application of green chemistry technology and the model to guide drug companies’ innovation.

Dr. Hao Hong, Chairman and CEO of Asymchem, and Dr. James Gage, CSO of Asymchem, welcomed the experts and introduced Asymchems core business capabilities and technological advantages. Asymchem was one of the early members of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable. As a leading global CDMO, Asymchem insists on green technology as the core driver, and after 20 years of continuous investment and research & development, Asymchem has made great achievements in the area. Including in the field of enzyme engineering technology, flow chemistry, and has a world-class R&D and production group. Afterward, Dr. Frank Roschangar, Co-Chairman of ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable and Isamir Martinez, Project Manager, gave a speech, saying that it was important to hold the first meeting in China, and hoped that more Chinese companies would join in the future to explore green chemistry and promote sustainable development. Participants were invited to tour Asymchem’s Enzyme Technology Laboratory, the Flow Chemistry Laboratory and the Analytical Testing Center, and had an in-depth exchange on the development and results of Green Technology at Asymchem.

Green Technology Innovations

For over 20 years, Asymchem has been driven by adopting and implementing green technology. To promote green pharmaceutical technology and advancements with independent intellectual property rights, the company has formed a board of scientific advisors (BSA) which includes Nobel Prize winner Professor K. Barry Sharpless from the American Scripps Research Institute, American MacArthur “Genius Award” winner Professor Jinquan Yu, American MacArthur “Genius Award” winner Professor Phil Baran and other outstanding scientists in the industry, and established an international joint laboratory for green pharmaceutical technology. So far, Asymchem has made many breakthroughs in the field of photochemistry, electrochemistry, and other green chemistry.

Of particular focus has been flow chemistry biological enzyme catalysis which is recognized as the path to providing greener drug development and production. The end-to-end production mode of the key intermediate of penem antibiotic-EP (MAP), developed by Asymchem-is the world’s shortest synthesis process to date, breaking the traditional mode of batch production and shortening the production timeline from 21 days to 8 days. Compared to conventional batch reactions, energy consumption is reduced by 45%, and production costs are effectively reduced by 40%. In the field of bioenzyme catalysis technology, Asymchem continues to develop bioenzymes with higher efficiency and better selectivity. Asymchem’s biotransformation technology platform develops enzymes commonly used in drug synthesis and uses bioengineering techniques such as DNA recombination, targeted evolution, and rational design of enzymes to continuously acquire new enzymes with higher activity, stability, and longer life cycles. Asymchem currently has nearly a thousand in its enzyme library.

Continued technological innovation has also led to a well- established reputation. Honoring Asymchem with several awards such as:

  • Green Chemistry Special Award of China’s Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry
  • “Green Pharmaceutical Technology National and Local Joint Engineering Laboratory” by the National Development and Reform Commission
  • “Green Factory” by the first batch of green manufacturing system construction demonstration unit of the National Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
  • “Most Valuable Partner” by several international, well known pharmaceutical companies

Resource and environmental issues are common challenges humanity is facing, and it is the mission of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable to promote green chemistry and sustainable development in the global pharmaceutical industry. With the successful conclusion of its first Asia Forum, Asymchem will continue to expand international research cooperation, promote green technology innovation, and make greater contributions to the domestic and international pharmaceutical industry and sustainable development.