Peptide therapeutic agents are enjoying increasing success but they are challenging to produce and, not least, to purify. Purity requirements are, in fact, approaching those for small molecules. Synthesis generates a challenging crude mixture containing failed sequences and chemical variants.
The environmental impact of pharmaceutical R&D and production is considerable. Although the industry is rather conservative and also constrained by regulatory guidelines, there is increasing interest in the implementation of sustainable practices that not only improve corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance but also reduce costs and increase efficiency. This effort is embodied in the concept of Green Chemistry and includes reducing the use of toxic solvents in production and purification, which is a considerable problem. Solutions include recycling and the use of upstream protective columns that remove bioburden to increase the life-cycle of columns used downstream, or even make certain solvent-consuming steps redundant altogether.