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The Potential

Levoglucosenone (CAS No. 37112-31-5) is recognised as a valuable product for the pharmaceutical industry for two primary reasons:

  1. the preservation of one of the natural chiral centres in cellulose that can be transferred into chiral therapeutic agents able to inhibit enzymatic reactions in viruses and other pathogens.
  2. the α, β-unsaturated ketone and protected aldehyde functionality in the levoglucosenone molecule offers the organic chemist a wide range of synthetic opportunities as a starting point for new molecules having fixed and known stereochemistry for anti-viral, anti-cancer and other bio-activity screening.

And with considerable published work on the use of levoglucosenone in drug development, commercial demand has been constrained by supply.

All attempts to commercially produce levoglucosenone have failed so far and generally the shortcoming is scale – reactions that can be conducted successfully on a micro-scale are frequently orders of magnitude less efficient when scaled up to practical levels because of problems associated with rates of heat transfer and extraction of the volatile product from the by-products.

Circa’s Furacell™ process allows efficient, industrial quantity production of levoglucosenone for the first time.

The Opportunity

Opportunity map for Pharma R&D

  • Synthetic drug markets are growing as companies look beyond traditional vaccines to grow pharmaceutical sales. Levoglucosenone can be used in growing chiral markets and as a “scaffold”, particularly in new oncology and anti retroviral treatments.
  • Considerable literature on patents and processes for the development of levoglucosenone derivatives.
  • Derivative work has been underway in many leading universities in North and South America, Russia, Japan and Sweden, for a number of years.