Currently, drugs are classified into small molecular drugs (first generation) and antibody drugs (second generation). Since peptide drugs can compensate for the shortcomings of both types, they are called third-generation drugs and their market is expected to grow in the near future.
Yokogawa is developing a core technology that uses continuous flow chemosynthesis for the development and production of peptide drugs.
Major challenges in the development of peptide drugs are as follows:
- Low yield
- Long reaction time
- It takes a long time to optimize the reaction conditions because multistep reactions are required to synthesize peptides.
To solve these challenges, Yokogawa is developing synthesis devices that efficiently synthesize peptides by using continuous flow technology and micro reactors, as well as technologies for non-contact, non-destructive measurement of yield and purity in the flow chemosynthesis process by using technologies cultivated in the control of chemical plants. The goal is to create a system that can determine optimal conditions while continuously changing the reaction temperature and flow velocity
Since materials and products are handled as fluids and made to react in a continuous flow chemosynthesis system, there is no need for large tanks and so the system is compact.
Conventional method (batch)
Yokogawa's method (continuous flow)
Vision for the future
Yokogawa aims to develop a next-generation peptide synthesis device for research based on flow chemosynthesis technology. This device features high yield, full automation, quick reaction, high repeatability, and multiple channels. By improving the yield and shortening the time for chemosynthesis, the device will accelerate peptide drug research and reduce costs greatly.
Since the flow chemosynthesis system is easy to expand, Yokogawa aims to develop a system that can provide active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) seamlessly from drug discovery research to production, spanning a wide range from high-mix low-volume production for research, to commercial-scale API production.