Use of "Intelligent Catalyst" Expanded to Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Dec. 12, 2005

HOKKO CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. (Hokko) and DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD. (Daihatsu) announced today that the use of the automotive catalyst "Intelligent Catalyst," which provides the precious metal palladium with a self-regenerative function, will be expanded to areas outside the auto industry. Hokko will form the main body of the business in Japan. Outside Japan, Hokko will team up with a U.K. venture company to supply the catalyst to chemical (primarily pharmaceuticals) manufacturers around the world.

Palladium is widely used as a catalyst in pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing processes, as well as a catalyst for automobiles. As the “Intelligent Catalyst” is also extremely useful in these fields, Hokko is strongly promoting its application in chemical related fields such as pharmaceuticals or electronic chemical materials. At the same time, Hokko is making use of the “Intelligent Catalyst” in the development and manufacture of its products in order to develop it as a key part of the company's fine chemicals business, and to increase profitability.

Benefits of Applying the Intelligent Catalyst in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: Achieving both high reactivity and long life

  • The catalyst shows high reactivity, allowing the amount of palladium used to be reduced to a minimum.
  • As the generated product and the catalyst are easily separated, it can be used repeatedly.
  • The catalyst is easy to handle being extremely stable with respect to temperature, air and humidity.

[Reference Material]

Use of Catalysts in Chemical Manufacturing

Organic compounds are widespread in the products around us such as pharmaceuticals and plastics. Organic compounds are based on a carbon-carbon bond, and the establishment of this bond is also important when reacting compounds containing carbon with each other. It is common practice in the chemical industry to accelerate the carbon-carbon bond formation by adding a catalyst such as palladium.

Desired Characteristics of a Catalyst

Cost: Able to accelerate reaction by adding only a small amount.
Productivity: Able to obtain the target product efficiently using a simple operation.
Safety: Ease of separation/removal of the catalyst component from the product (especially pharmaceuticals).

A catalyst that combines all three of these characteristics, cost, productivity, and safety, has been long awaited.

In 2003, Professor Steven V. Ley, an authority on organic compounds at Cambridge University, and his group, found that “the “Intelligent Catalyst” achieves a high reactivity previously unseen in organic compound reactions employed in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.” Hokko and Daihatsu, in cooperation with Cambridge University (Professor Ley and Dr. Martin D. Smith), have been researching the “Intelligent Catalyst” in a low temperature liquid environment, which is completely different from vehicle exhaust gas.

The research team has drawn on Hokko’s fine chemicals development know-how to perfect a catalyst that incorporates high reactivity and low cost with flexibility to be used in any environment.

Hokko and Daihatsu intend to continue to strengthen their ties with Cambridge University and to develop the potential capacity of the “Intelligent Catalyst.”

Examples of the Application of the Palladium Catalyst in Chemical Manufacturing

Pharmaceuticals High blood pressure treatment (anti-hypertension agents), antidepressants
Electronic chemical Liquid crystals displays (TVs, calculators, mobile phones),
materials OLEDs, (digital audio players, digital cameras)

Hokko Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. Corporate Data

Paid-in Capital: 3.2 billion yen
Stock Listing: Tokyo Stock Exchange
Head Office: Tokyo
Consolidated Sales: 43.1 billion yen (fiscal year 2004)
Main Activities:
  • Agricultural Chemicals (distributed through Cooperative outlet)
  • Fine Chemicals
  • Catalysts
  • Intermediates for pharmaceuticals and crop protection products
  • Intermediates for electronic chemical materials
  • Fine Chemicals Research Laboratories (Atsugi, Kanagawa pref.)
  • Okayama (Japan)
  • Zhanjiagang Hokko Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (China)

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