What is custom synthesis and why you should outsource your chemical syntheses?

synthesis in a lab


May 2021

It is generally recognized that companies enhance their credibility thanks to the manufacturing of relevant and innovative products. In that sense, research and development (R&D) is the driving force which impact directly business results and ensure the durability of the companies. The improvement of products is undoubtedly a point that offers to industry a competitive edge. To do so, the custom synthesis can help in developing new molecules for designing innovative materials and products. The custom chemical synthesis aiming at the elaboration of tailor-made (macro)molecules deserves a particular interest in the scope of innovation. Even if for some of you the concept has no secret, others may wonder what is the value of conducting such research.

This article may interest you if you want to learn more on the concept of custom synthesis and why it can add a real value for your research and development. Indeed, we are presenting you the importance of the custom synthesis in order to have a better understanding of its various advantages.

You may work in an academic lab, doing a PhD thesis or writing a new scientific publication, but you may also be employed in an industrial company which aims to develop new concepts and products or simply improve those already existing. In any case, you can have the same concerns and be interested in bringing your ideas one step further. To do so, the custom synthesis can help you finding the right answer to your needs and we are explaining you why.

Why could you require custom synthesis?

When you are making some research on an innovative subject, you may sometimes confront what seems to be a deadlock which can slow your progression and stop you from reaching your goals. Where is the blockage? You may need a specific product to go further and be struggling to find the right answer to you requirement. It already exists a multitude of chemicals that own specific characteristics but sometimes, none of them match your needs. But there is still a solution available : the custom chemical synthesis.

What is custom synthesis?

As a reminder, in the chemistry world the synthesis of chemicals is set up on a single or several chemical reactions process which targets the development of a complex chemical from reactants or other substances. The first step of the method applied is the selection of component parts followed by the development of the possible interconnections to obtain a large part of the substances utilized every day. Even if custom organic synthesis is often performed, it can be used for all different types of substances.

With the custom synthesis, you have the opportunity to have access to exclusive chemical synthesis developed especially for you and totally suitable to your needs. Indeed, you can get a particular and unique chemical that is only synthesized on your demand with the specific characteristics you require: the scale, the purity or the methods needed.

Which way to choose in custom synthesis?

To operate custom synthesis, two different ways are opened to you depending on the basis information you have. If you have already a well define protocol drawn from scientific articles or patents, you should make a reproduction of known synthetic pathway. In contrast, if you don’t have a clue of the protocols to follow and you are starting with a blank sheet, you may have a great interest in the design of functional (macro)molecules.

  • Reproduction of known synthetic pathway: Reproduction, and, most of the time, scaling-up (grams to kilograms) of the synthesis of (macro)molecules based on available protocols from scientific articles or patents. This the most simple and fast way to performed custom synthesis.
  • Design of functional (macro)molecules: Starting from scratch, it is based on the conception of the most relevant (macro)molecules that can bring added value to your applications. This process is longer but really innovative because it leads to the development of a brand new molecule that meets perfectly your request.
two pathways in custom synthesis

How realize custom synthesis?

You may require a specific equipment and most of all the expertise necessary to develop the required substances through particular technics of synthesis. The objective is to provide the right amount of the targeted structure with clear and comprehensive performance. The usual process is based on the validation of the synthesis feasibility on small quantities. This first stage generally ends with a go/no go milestone, which is often welcome as it mitigates the risks in case of unfeasibility. Then, if the “go” is approved, the synthesis can be up-scaled in order to produce the quantities required for your project, up to hundreds of grams. To check on the perfect quality of the chemical synthesis and to validate the right characteristics and properties of the needed chemical, strong expertise in analysis and powerful equipment are essential.

But after answering the question of the necessary resources comes the following question on your internal and available capabilities to perform custom synthesis by yourself.

Who can make custom synthesis?

One of the most important questions you may ask you is on your ability to conduct the synthesis internally. The advantage of this way is the complete management and control over the synthesis, the control of time, resources and results. On the contrary, the disadvantages are the substantial cost or the lack of creativity from the internal team that is working on the synthesis.

In most cases, it is more interesting to outsourced the R&D and in particular the synthesis of chemicals. The process usually employed is divided in six steps:

  1. Definition of the pathway and the (macro)molecules to target
  2. Creation of a detailed work plan and ranking of the objectives
  3. Regular meeting and exchanges on project progress, defining adjustment if needed
  4. Delivery of the targeted polymers or materials at all stages of the project
  5. Review on the feasibility of sample performances before initiating larger scale synthesis
  6. Transfer of the required information for the proper use of our products through documents
custom synthesis process

What are the advantages of the outsourced custom synthesis?

It exists numerous benefits in the outsourcing of synthesis with an experienced company. First of all, it allows you and your organization to save time and effort but also to benefit from a better reaction speed than if you were doing your synthesis by yourself. You will gain in flexibility and benefit from a great experience that you may not have internally. In addition, you have the opportunity to increase the scalability of your concept by taking advantage of a great supply chain that can support you from the lab to the industrialization if needed. Finally, one of the most noteworthy advantage is the cost and time savings which is a convincing argument in your decision-making.

Collaborate with SPECIFIC POLYMERS for your custom synthesis.

You must work with us if you are looking for:

  • A vast experience in custom synthesis since 2003
  • A partner who ensure that your requirements are met
  • An expertise in various field of activity which lead to cross-fertilization and more creativity
  • A dedicated attentive and responsive team working on high technology equipment
  • A wide range of innovative and not available molecules with high performance
  • A constant supply of exclusive chemicals coming from our collaboration
camille chatard specific polymers

Camille Chatard, Custom Synthesis Manager at SPECIFIC POLYMERS, is helping you by answering the following question:

What are SPECIFIC POLYMERS’ strengths in chemical synthesis?

“For more than 15 years, SPECIFIC POLYMERS’ custom-synthesis department supports its academic and industrial customers in the elaboration of innovative (macro)molecules. We are involved in numerous industrial projects and collaborative partnerships, and we are attached to continuously expand our internal R&D programs to maintain a high level of competence and innovation in many fields of organic and polymer chemistry. Thanks to a dynamic and creative team composed of engineers and PhD with complementary skills in organic, polymer and material chemistry, SPECIFIC POLYMERS is able to respond to most of your requests to provide you tailor-made (macro)molecules.

Despite our rich portfolio containing more than 500 references of functional building-blocks, monomers and macromolecules, our customers frequently need to get unique chemical structures to fulfill specific requirements for creating innovative materials. In that sense, SPECIFIC POLYMERS is a qualified and reliable partner to help you in the development of (macro)molecules which are not commercially available, or even not referenced yet in the literature. This is the fundamental purpose of our custom-synthesis services. We help you by producing the necessary quantity of products for you to validate applicative proof-of-concepts.

On one hand, we are able to reproduce and optimize already known synthetic pathways, bringing our expertise in the adaptation of the experimental procedures to render them more effective. . On the other hand, we are experienced in the design of various and new (macro)molecules, based on your technical specifications in terms physicochemical properties, thermomechanical characteristics or specific attributes for a given application. We help you being more effective by means of our strong expertise in organic and polymers chemistry combined with our ability to identify relevant and alternative synthesis pathways that meet perfectly your targeted results. We can offer you a great structure-property-performance proposition for the custom synthesis of your targets.

custom synthesis specific polymers

Our lab equipment allows us to perform syntheses from gram to hundreds of grams, depending on the reactions involved. We certify the quality of our R&D products thanks to our internal analytical service, which allows us to validate their chemical structure and purity, determine their molecular weight and polymolecularity, and if needed evaluate their thermal properties and other physicochemical characteristics (viscosity, density, etc.). All these information are detailed in the Technical Data Sheets (TDS) which we provide together with the samples, and sometimes in a research report which describes the syntheses and characterizations performed during the study.

It is important to keep in mind that, by the exploratory nature of custom synthesis, reorientations of the studies are sometimes required. That’s why we usually work in close collaboration with our customers, providing them regular updates all along the project in order to reorientate rapidly the research work in case of difficulties or unexpected results.”

“Our main objective is to provide our customers a reliable and high-quality service for helping them to go one-step further in their innovative projects.”

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