FLASC Fast Lifecycle Assessment for Synthetic Chemistry

While investigating and developing the GSK approach to Green Chemistry and technology, a multiyear investigation into the lifecycle inventory (LCI) of a typical active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) was undertaken. This was necessarily an extended investigation given that there was a tremendous lack of data available for those materials generally found in the supply chain of an API. In addition, data in most commercial software is generally not that transparent or modular; that is, one cannot deconvolute a typical LCI and dissect the supply chain to determine where the greatest impacts arise or with which materials the greatest impacts are associated.

In collaboration with researchers at North Carolina State University, a modular, ab initio approach based on chemical engineering design principles was developed

Figure 8.25. The GSK Green Chemistry Guide.

(Jimenez-Gonzalez, 2000, 2003a). This methodology is transparent, well documented, and extremely flexible. Modular Gate-to-Gate (GTG) LCIs for materials can be used to construct chemical trees from an advanced material back to the cradle, and the inventories "rolled-up" to obtain a Cradle-to-Gate (CTG) LCI. Its utility was demonstrated for a typical, commercially successful GSK API (Curzons et al., 2001). These GTG LCI data were also available for additional analysis that led to the development of the FLASC® tool (Curzons et al., 1999).

Very briefly, FLASC®is a web-based tool and methodology that delivers fast lifecycle assessments of potential chemical synthetic routes or manufacturing processes used to make GSK APIs or intermediates. It also provides guidance about which materials have the greatest lifecycle environmental impacts and allows a GSK scientist or engineer to benchmark between existing or proposed routes or processes. Route or process assessment is initiated by supplying the FLASC® site with the quantity (kg/kg final product) of all materials used in the process via a simple, automated spreadsheet upload procedure. FLASC® has been developed to accept process and material information routinely generated by GSK R&D scientists using existing software systems or reports and formats. Information and guidance from the FLASC®site should, over time, help GSK move away from materials and processes that have significant lifecycle impacts.

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