Amine goldmine: BASF commits to new plant citing growing demand

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Ethanolamine, used as a solvent to make APIs
Ethanolamine, used as a solvent to make APIs
The amines market will grow 5% over the next decade according to BASF, which cited rising drugmaker demand as a key driver for its investment in a new German plant.

Amines are used as chemical building blocks for the manufacture of products in a number of industries, with the pharma world using them as part of the synthesis of drugs including analgesics and antihistamines.

Such demand has led chemical firm BASF to construct a new facility in Ludwigshafen, Germany, spokesman Klaus-Peter Rieser told, which is expected to produce 12,000 tonnes of amines annually when scheduled operations commence in 2015.

For such products, “BASF forecasts a growth of 5% globally within the next ten years,”​ he told us, across all applications, though was unable to disclose a breakdown by industry.

The new site will produce fifteen amines from BASF’s range of around 200, focused specifically on applications within the pharma, construction, automotive, and crop protection industries. However, Rieser could not reveal which specific amines would be made there, nor details as to BASF’s manufacturing processes.

The news comes weeks after BASF announced it was constructing another speciality amine plant in Nanjing, China, though Rieser said the two sites would have a different portfolio.

“Whereas the LU plant has a very broad spectrum of products, the plant in Nanjing will have a different setup,”​ he said, manufacturing only dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA) and polyetheramine (PEA), used in the cosmetics and plastics industry respectively.

Amines in drug development

Amines such as ethanolamine are used in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as solvents and catalysts, aiding drug development by overcoming formulation and delivery barriers such as low aqueous solubility.

Furthermore, BASF says it is expanding its portfolio of chiral amines - amines with three different groups bonded to a Nitorgen atom, existing as pairs of enantiomers - which, according to the Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany​, “hold greater diversification potential”​ for drug candidate development.

Current marketed drugs which contain key chiral amines include Roche’s maria drug Lariam, Novartis’ Alzheimer’s drug Rivastigmine, Pfizer’s depression drug Zoloft and Novo Nordisk’s anti-diabetic drug Repaglinide.

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