History of GCLE
3 research chemists from Otsuka Chemical Co., Ltd. joined the research group of Prof. Torii at Okayama University and initiated a collaborative research project to develop a process to manufacture 7-ACA from penicillin by chemical conversion.
3-Chloromethylcephem derivative was first synthesized from Penicillin G by the application of an electrochemical chlorination technology, although the yield was very low. Then the effort was focused to improve the yield and to convert the 3-chloromethyl group into 3-acetoxymethyl group for aiming the goal, which was 7-ACA.
The project strategy was changed and the goal was newly set to develop the 3-chlorometylcephem as a new synthetic intermediate for the cephalosporin antibiotics to be used in the market. To achieve the goal a new research group of 6 chemists was organized at the research laboratories of Otsuka Chemical in Tokushima.
The 3-chloromethylcephem derivative from Penicillin G was formally decided to name as “GCLE”, which was originally an internal code name to indicate that it had penicillin G side chain at the 7-position, a chloromethyl group at the 3-position and the carboxyl group was protected as a p-methoxybenzyl ester.
The construction of a pilot plant was completed to scale up the GCLE process and to initiate the test marketing of GCLE manufactured there.
The pilot plat was modified and was converted to be a semi-commercial plant of GCLE and the product GCLE was supplied to the first customer in Japan.
A new customer in USA agreed to use GCLE as the starting material of their newly developed cephalosporin antibiotic, and both parties signed a contract.
The construction of the first commercial plant of GCLE was completed and the commercial production was started.
Otsuka Chemical won the Chemical Technology Award of the Chemical Society of Japan for the successful development of the GCLE process.
Copyright 2009, Otsuka Chemical (India) Private Limited.