Automation, high-throughput screening, and combinatorial chemistry have already revolutionized biological high-throughput screening and laboratory-scale preparative chemistry. The combinatorial synthesis of large libraries of small drug-like molecules became a standard tool in medicinal chemistry. Over the last few years, these methods have been finding their way "downstream" to larger scale chemistry, catalyst research, and process development.

Here, shorter development times and increasing numbers of clinical development candidates have increased the pressure to identify and optimize efficient large-scale syntheses for life science intermediates and products quickly. The principles of combinatorial chemistry seem to be appropriate to fulfill these demands, not only for the synthesis of life science products but also for the process development of basic and bulk chemicals.

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