The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative research proposals to support development of an automated chemical synthesizer that can produce, purify, characterize and scale a wide range of small molecules.
While the field of synthetic chemistry has developed rapidly over the last century, major challenges remain including the slow pace of discovery and limited reproducibility/scalability once a promising new molecule is identified.
Development of an automated chemical synthesis platform capable of synthesizing known and new molecules through continuous, interconnected and scalable reaction, purification, characterization and formulation modules would be a major leap forward for the field.
The Make-It program will specifically address the development of an automated end-to-end system that includes capabilities for:
- Computational analysis and design of synthetic pathways
- Reagent/starting material delivery mechanism
- Interconnected fluidic modules for synthesis and in-line monitoring, purification and formulation
- The value of synthetic chemistry is omnipresent, ranging from medicines to advanced materials
A successful Make-It system will demonstrate maximal synthetic flexibility using a minimal set of modules by synthesizing several organic small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), including in-line formulation of one API to yield a finished drug product, as well as synthesizing a series of DARPA-defined small molecule challenge targets.
DARPA anticipates that Make-It will completely overhaul the current workflow for chemical design, synthesis and scale-up.
The final program deliverable will be a synthesizer that will utilize software to enable the selection of optimal reaction schemes and tailor process parameters to achieve target yield and purity metrics for a range of desired small molecules. The technology will be inherently scalable from milligram to production levels.
Further details are available via Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-15-46. The response deadline is September 1, 2015.