Buying Commercially Available Systems or Carrying out Inhouse Development

Many arguments can be found for and against carrying out in-house development, some of which are listed in a Table 30.4 and are based on recent publications [36].

Using systems that have been developed in house based on existing laboratory equipment has been discussed by Pollard [36]. It allows one step after another to be analyzed by looking at the existing workflow and checking for bottlenecks, leading to fast improvement in the performance of the tailor-made solution. Disadvantages of in-house developments are high development costs, the lack of external or ''user group'' support, and the need for local specialists with skills in programming, electronics, etc. During the last 5 years, several - mainly pharmaceutical - companies have chosen in-house development of automated workstations for process development, e.g. SmithKline Beecham, Glaxo Wellcome, Aventis, Schering, and Bayer among others. Companies chose to move projects in this direction because of the lack of reasonable commercial alternatives at that time. Today, the situation is different. For all screening stages a host of commercially available systems is on the market (refer to examples in Tables 30.1 and 30.2), even for high-pressure or low-temperature reactions. Therefore, we believe that now, for most applications in

Process screening (Automated)

Automated workstation (1 - 25 ml)

Fig. 30.10. Possible introduction of parallel process development equipment.

Pro in-house development

Contra in-house development

• Tailor-made solution - you can

• Long development time

design exactly what you need

• Flexible

• High development costs

• Cheap to install multiple copies

• Hidden development costs? For example,

generating support documentation

• Easier learning curve

• Need to source "unusual" components -

glassware, electronics, etc.

• Continuous improvement process

• Lack of external support

• Own IP position strengthen

• Lack of "user group''support

• Fits to existing equipment

• Local "specialists" are required, with skills

in programming, etc.

fine chemicals, an acceptable commercial solution is available, which makes it possible to introduce parallel process development immediately ''off the shelf.'' Even huge primary catalyst-screening projects can be carried out in cooperation with third-party combinatorial firms, for example Avancium, THE, or Symyx, and their screening tools can be purchased for in-house research [37].

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