Five minutes with…
Christophe Bardin, Commercial Director, La Mesta Chimie Fine
Chemistry today: How is going the fine chemical business and what is new in your company?
Bardin: We are doing really well for many years. Our plant is well filled, as well as our projects pipeline and our profitability allows La Mesta to dedicate 8-10% of its 18 M€ turnover to new investments. We mostly do custom synthesis, so more than 90% of our turnover is done under CDA for customers that search for specific know how. We really have few products in our catalogue. We are mainly a one product, one customer company.
CT: You offer a lot of hazardous and complex technical capabilities.
Bardin: Yes, we can perform high pressure chemistry in batch or continuous. We have for example a 2000 liters vessel able to work up to 100 bar, and can work up to 300 bars in continuous. We developed the Raptor technologies for continuous flow chemistry. We have been working on flow technology for 14 years now and we constructed our first flow equipment (Raptor®) when this idea was not so common. This explains the fact that we are now leader in this field. Last year we started a new industrial workshop devoted only to flow synthesis. There, we use the Raptor for continuous synthesis and put behind also continuous washing and continuous distillation. In the end, we get a seamless production from the raw materials to the concentrated final product solution. It is really powerful. To make an example, one of the products manufactured in the new workshop used to be done in batch using 6000 liters vessel. To make 60 metric tons, it was taking 25 weeks and with the new equipment, we need only 10 weeks. That means 130 kilograms of finish per hour. It also means a greener synthesis with about 100 metric tons less of solvent used.
The flow chemistry represents now a significant part of our turnover with 6 products manufactured in continuous at industrial scale.
CT: This means you can explore an interesting chemical space.
Bardin: All these technologies allow us to perform reactions that many do not want to do anymore in Europe because of safety and regulatory issues. For example, phosgenation: We produce our phosgene and use it directly into the Raptor. We make like this the last step of an API sold in Canada under GMP. We make also a carbonylation at 50 bars in triflic acid. Using batch, a leak in these conditions would be a major issue, but using our technology we have less than one liter at any time at 50 bars of pressure. If anything goes wrong the safety system closes the valves, everything stops and you are safe.
CT: What can La Mesta offer that no one else can?
Bardin: The main difference between La Mesta and the competition is that we can use both batch and flow chemistry, and our chemists can choose what is the best solution for the project.
Based on our technologies and on the know-how of our team, we are a company that does what competitors cannot offer.