Reaxa, a new catalyst technologies company, has formally commenced trading following a successful spin-out from UK-headquartered chemicals company Avecia, reports Phil Taylor.
The new company was formed via the acquisition of Avecia's Manchester, UK-based core polymer group, which was behind the development of Reaxa's core products - the EnCat range of encapsulated catalysts, QuadraPure precious metal and chemical scavenging resin and QuadraGel synthesis support resin, used in peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis. It says its aim is to offer platforms for "easier, faster and cleaner chemistry" in pharmaceutical production, reducing time, cost and environmental burdens in bringing new drugs to market. Several new additions to the EnCat range are currently in development for commercial launch later this year and in 2006.
Reaxa operates as a combined venture between the company's management team, Professor Steven Ley of the University of Cambridge and Avecia. The company expects break even in its first year, be cash-generative in its second, and achieve annual revenues of $20m (€16.5m) or more by 2009.
Reaxa technologies combine new approaches to immobilising the precious metal catalysts increasingly important in drug production and more efficient recovery of metal contaminants from products and process waste. Using these approaches reduces contamination and clean-up costs and enhances reuse and recycling of expensive materials. The company's strengths in catalysis and polymer chemistry, together with synthetic organic chemistry, process development and scale-up have been combined with Prof Ley's expertise in supported reagent technologies and novel synthetic approaches to complex drugs.
"Reaxa's focus as a stand-alone business is to concentrate on new process chemistries that will meet R&D and production challenges in synthesis of complex new drugs," said CEO Dr Pete Jackson. "Our clean catalysis technologies particularly address sustainability issues, via innovation in both existing chemical toolkits - and the advance of new catalyst-based programmes."
In parallel with his Reaxa role, Jackson continues in his role as Avecia Pharmaceuticals' vice president for pharmaceutical products. Reaxa will also retain its dedicated commercial, R&D and manufacturing facilities at the Avecia site in Manchester, UK.