Commercialisation agreement for Canberra's synthetic catalyst

Thursday, 11 June, 2015


International chemical manufacturer Strem Chemicals has signed a commercialisation agreement to market a synthetic catalyst developed by University of Canberra researcher Ashraf Ghanem. The catalyst will help make the pharmaceutical manufacturing process more efficient, particularly in the production of ADD/ADHD drug Ritalin (methylphenidate).

Dr Ghanem said the synthetic catalyst produces a chemical reaction that allows certain molecules to be extracted with a very high level of purity, reducing the need for additional processing and diminishing the risk of unintended side effects.

“This is important because it can help produce more effective pharmaceuticals quickly at a reduced cost, and hopefully in the future that means people are paying less for the medication they need,” he said.

The deal with Strem Chemicals is the University of Canberra’s first intellectual property licence for a chemical product that will be sold worldwide. Strem Chemicals Chief Operating Officer Dr Ephraim S Honig said the company is pleased to be adding the catalyst to its product range.

“This will be a tool for drug discovery and process development scientists to use in their efforts to bring new pharmaceuticals to market and make them, or generic drugs, more efficiently,” Dr Honig said.

Dr Ghanem said the path to commercialising his discovery has been hard work but rewarding, now that his research is delivering a beneficial outcome to the pharmaceutical field - as well as those depending on their medication.

“This commercialisation deal shows that we are achieving great results in our field and that our work is offering a solution that can improve the pharmaceutical industry’s access to more pure drugs,” he said.

“I feel that this is what my research is meant to be doing - taking the theory from the bench to a product in the marketplace.”

Image caption: Dr Ghanem holds the green crystalline catalyst in the round-bottomed flask and a model of the molecule that is the subject of the IP commercialisation deal. Image credit: Michelle McAulay.

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