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'Chemputer' Promises App-Controlled Revolution for Drug Production

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The chemputer robot.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the U.K. have developed a "chemputer" produce drug molecules.

Credit: Cronin Group, School of Chemistry, University of Glasgow

Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the U.K. developed a new technique for producing drug molecules, using downloadable blueprints to easily and reliably synthesize organic chemicals via a programmable computer.

The team said the "chemputer" features a universal and interoperable standard for writing and sharing chemical recipes based on a general abstraction for chemistry.

Running those recipes on a "chempiler" program instructs the system on how to generate molecules on-demand, and more affordably and safely than previously possible.

The chemputer draws raw chemical materials in liquid form into and out of an array of modules—a reaction module, a jacketed filtration module capable of being heated or cooled, an automated liquid-liquid separation module, and a solvent evaporation module—to perform the operations required to complete synthesis.

Said Glasgow's Lee Cronin, "This approach is a key step in the digitization of chemistry, and will allow the universal assembly of complex molecules on demand."

From University of Glasgow (U.K.)
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