High-Throughput Photochemistry: The dawn of a new era with a bright future


1. CMC Analytical, GSK, GSK Medicines Research Centre,  Stevenage, United Kingdom
2. Chemical Development, GSK, GSK Medicines Research Centre, Stevenage, United Kingdom


Photochemistry is on the verge of becoming a standard laboratory tool, the next stage in photochemistry’s evolution is the merging of automation and photochemical platforms. We discuss our vision of the near future where we are beginning to make this vision a reality.


In the pharmaceutical industry, automated and parallel experimentations play a pivotal role in the discovery of new chemical entities and their purification, and in the development of robust synthetic routes and sustainable manufacturing processes. The use of automation has become an important way to accelerate pharmaceutical development. Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Merck, Eli Lilly, and others, have published several academic articles showcasing the use of automation in early drug development. This powerful tool has become organically embedded within their Research & Development laboratories to support several workflows. Automated forced degradation, structure-activity relationship studies, reaction kinetics based on design of experiment (DoE), organic solubility, and reaction work-up processes are some of the areas where automation is being applied (1-5).

It is clear how the true potential of automation can be unleashed by applying a standardized experimental design approach. Automated unit operations such as solid and liquid handling down to a milligram scale, have given the opportunity to scientists to investigate larger chemical spaces wit ...