Synthetic Route Design and Optimisation for Pharmaceutical Reference Materials

Location: Perth, WA

Duration: 5 months

Project Background

Epichem is a leading provider of synthetic and medicinal chemistry services. The organisation has 4 Business Units, namely Contract Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Reference Standards, Fine Chemical and Technical Services and Analytical Services. Located in Perth, Epichem services a worldwide client base; providing specialised products and service and technical expertise in the Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Mining, Agriculture, and Animal Health global sectors.

Epichem require an intern in the Reference Standards department to assist in the development of synthetic methods for the production of challenging drug impurities and degradants. These are used as reference standards in manufacturing and quality control in the global pharmaceutical industry.

The project involves a mixture of lab based (~80%) and office based (20%) components, involving the planning, synthesis, purification and characterisation of organic compounds. The planning of synthetic methods will involve chemical literature searches including the use of SciFinder™ and discussions with Epichem staff on a variety of synthetic approaches and in-house developed synthetic methods. The synthesis, reaction monitoring, isolation and purification and finally characterisation of organic compounds will involve the use of standard organic chemistry equipment including the use of automated flash chromatography systems (Reveleris X2) and analytical instruments such as HPLC, LCMS, GCMS, NMR and TLC. All experiments will be recorded thoroughly and accurately in lab notes books as and when the experiments are run.

The intern will be based closely with the collaborative Reference Materials team and be assigned a lab-based mentor to aid in the day to day laboratory tasks and development of practical lab skills. Additionally, the intern will be liaising with the project manager on the synthesis strategies, planning and troubleshooting of chemistry experiments with an emphasis on the development of the intern’s broader synthetic chemistry knowledge.

Research to be Conducted

Investigation into the total synthesis of 5-Keto-Dextromethorphan or another challenging target molecule through:

  • Synthesis design and execution to provide complex target compounds.
  • Optimisation of reaction conditions and purification methods to access sufficient quantities of intermediate compounds.
  • Devising alternative synthetic routes to the target if the proposed steps fail to give the desired outcomes.

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Organic chemistry and ideally an individual who has spent at least 1 year on a project that focuses on the synthesis of organic molecules.
  • A commitment to safety and diligence in an organic chemistry research laboratory.
  • Expertise in synthetic organic chemistry and compound purification.
  • Expertise in the interpretation of analytical data.
  • Tenacity and an interest in the synthesis of synthetically challenging molecules.

Expected Outcomes

Epichem and APR.Intern hope to ensure the intern has had a major impact in the development of synthetic pathways to produce the target molecule(s) with a focus on reproducibility, cost effectiveness and scalability.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

29 January 2020


APR – 1324