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Current Winner - 2023

Synergy Award for Innovation

Michael Organ

Synergy Award for Innovation

Category: University Partnerships

University of Ottawa
Toronto Research Chemicals, an LGC company

When the global pandemic struck in 2020, Toronto Research Chemicals, an LGC company (LGC-TRC), was one of very few companies worldwide manufacturing a particular trifunctional non-nucleoside linker, a key molecule necessary for some brands of COVID-19 test kits. LGC-TRC had prepared this material in small quantities using batch-reactor technology for more than a decade, but the company found itself needing to scale up production immediately. Unfortunately, the method used for small-scale batch production presented hazards that made it too risky to attempt the procedure at multi-kilo scale. Alternate reaction conditions had been tried over the preceding years to no avail.

LGC-TRC contacted Professor Michael Organ, a pioneer of flow chemistry, and asked if new technology could be developed to prepare the material in a safer and more sustainable fashion. Organ’s team responded with a groundbreaking solution, delivering a novel reactor design that enables the carrying out of the hazardous transformation in flow – for the first time ever – and the preparation of billions of COVID-19 test kits. New flow-reactor technology was rapidly developed and the University of Ottawa trainees who invented it installed the ultimate prototype at LGC-TRC and trained employees on its operation and maintenance.

The speed with which this partnership achieved success played a key part in helping the world begin to move again after the first complete lockdown and laid the foundation for an enduring and impactful partnership for the future.

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