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Novasep Discovers Explosive Properties of Togni Reagent II

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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Novasep reclassifies reagent and informs market about new safety measures required.

Novasep has announced that its R&D team has discovered and characterized the explosive properties of the Togni reagent II and intermediates at the Novasep Leverkusen site in Germany.

The findings have been published in the March edition of the journal Organic Process Research and Development.

Togni reagent II (1-(trifluoromethyl)-1,2-benziodoxol-3(1H)-one, 1) is a versatile reagent for the electrophilic introduction of trifluoromethyl groups. It is used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. It is also widely used in universities.

Novasep conducted a Koenen test on a sample of Togni Reagent II prepared in their kilolab, in which the reagent was shown to be highly explosive.

Another critical property of the Togni Reagent II clarified by the Novasep team is its fast combustion when ignited. The combustion factor was measured as BZ6, the same classification as black powder.

This discovery has resulted in a revised classification for handling and transportation of the Togni reagent II, which must now be approved by national competent authorities.

Novasep has also informed companies known to market the compound, who will relay the safety measures required to handle the reagent.

Tests were conducted in the Novasep Leverkusen plant. The plant has German government authorization to handle energetic materials and operate hazardous reactions from lab to thousands tons scale.

This has enabled Novasep to develop reliable and cost-efficient processes that satisfy regulatory requirements whilst maintaining safety for technical staff and its plants.

The skill developed by Novasep includes managing large-scale reactions that use sodium azide, reactive metals, diazomethane and diborane (both in gaseous form), hydrazine, ozone and nitroalkanes.

These chemical reactions are often more direct and cost-efficient than traditional routes of synthesis. They generally create fewer by-products and have a high yield and productivity.

“Novasep has used our 140 years experience and the knowledge of our R&D team in highly energetic reagents and reactions as well as our specialized equipment to be able to identify another set of dangerous properties of a commonly used compound,” said Dr. Jan Haller, senior scientist, process development, Novasep.

Dr. Haller continued, “We consider it very important to share this knowledge with scientific, manufacturing and regulatory communities to ensure that this compound is treated in a safe manner.”

“The work completed by Novasep regarding the Togni Reagent II will contribute to a more deliberate and responsible handling of the reagent used by so many research groups," said Professor Togni, professor of organometallic chemistry at the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry, ETH Zurich and inventor of the reagent.

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