Oligonucleotide research

Synthena AG is developing oligonucleotide based therapeutics primarily for the treatment of genetic neuromuscular diseases by using its tricyclo-DNA molecular platform. It was founded 2012 as a spin-off of the University of Berne. Synthena started the Business with two 15-litre miniPilot reactors and a 30-litre Nutsch filter from Büchi. In our interview, Dr Branislav Dugovic, Chief Technology Officer at Synthena, talks about his first experiences with Büchi equipment.

What were the requirements for the equipment? We were searching for an intermediate-scale device which would be suitable for scaling-up synthesis of our modified nucleosides. Since it is a multi-step synthesis utilising a variety of chemical reactions, the device should be able to operate at low temperatures (-60°C) up to reflux temperature of common organic solvents (100°C).

Limited space in the laboratory: Because of limited space, the devices must be compact and movable to use the fume hood space for other equipment when needed.

Operating conditions: The device is intended to be utilised at normal pressure, and occasionally for distillation at reduced pressure. Dosage of both liquid and solid reagents is necessary. Since the device is planned to be used for different intermediates, it should allow easy cleaning.

Equipment volume: The device is intended to be used for scaling-up from reaction flasks to the maximum volumes which can be still handled safely in the environment of a university spin-off company, so the 15-litre reactor seemed to be a reasonable compromise since it offers the possibility to do a scale-up starting from 3 litres.

For which specific application is the equipment used?  The application is a multi-step synthesis with a variety of chemical reactions including oxidations, reductions, organometallic reactions, nucleosidations and manipulations with protecting groups.

What was the main reason for buying Büchi equipment? The high-quality equipment fits perfectly with our requirements. Spare parts are in stock, and the Büchi production site is located close to our site.

What advantages are there for you in the fact that Büchi is able to offer a one-stop shop for the development, design and launch of a complete process engineering system?
It is very convenient because the service is provided as a package which eliminates the need for allocation of further resources from our company. This is very important for a start-up company like ours, since with such services we can use the time for our main activity, which is research.

How satisfied are you with the «büchiflex» flexible connection solution? Büchiflex offers a flexible, quick and easy way to connect glass parts of modular equipment. It offers tight, chemically inert joints thanks to PTFE sealing. Its construction assures very easy connection and disconnection.

How satisfied are you with the service you’ve had from Büchi? We were highly satisfied with the professional services of Büchi, the very detailed documentation and description of the equipment through all phases of the project. We will definitely consider Büchi as a partner for future projects.