Group Leader of the Innovation Lab for Sustainable Process Intensification & Professor in Flow Chemistry, Politecnico di Milano


In this issue we have foreseen a Panel discussion on Flow Chemistry involving some of the most important Key Players in the field. Some of the hot topics discussed: Future perspectives on Drug approvals; Benefits & challenges to implement Machine Learning; Potential for localised manufacturing; zero-waste target; The importance of courses in education.

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In June 2002, a research article containing for the first time the words “continuous flow chemistry” in the title was submitted and accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. After 18 years, it is now time to look back at the developments and celebrate the success of flow chemistry and continuous manufacturing in bringing industrialization and automation, major drivers in most of the modern branches of industry, into the chemist’s dictionary. Flow chemistry is today an established enabling technology that can drastically improve the safety of hazardous chemicals, reducing handling of highly energetic intermediates, enhancing yield, reducing solvent and other raw material inputs, and lessening the environmental impact of a pharmaceutical process. This is key for a sector that has been historically suspected of generating the highest amount of waste and pollution. In particular, flow technology has advanced substantially from library synthesis to manufacturing, and it is not surprising that high temperature/pressure reactions, hazardous chemistries, flash methods involving organometallics, polymerizations, photochemical or electrochemical reactions, and multistep syntheses of APIs ...