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Journal of Automated Methods and Management in Chemistry
Volume 22, Issue 6, Pages 181-186

The Zymark BenchMate™. A compact, fully-automated solution-phase reaction work-up facility for multiple parallel synthesis

AstraZeneca, Alderley Park, Cheshire, Macclesfield SK10 4TG, UK

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The rapid growth of multiple parallel synthesis in our laboratories has created a demand for a robust, easily accessed automated system for solution-phase reaction work-up, since the manual work-up of large numbers of small-scale reactions is both time-consuming and tedious, and is a rate limiting step in the generation of large numbers of compounds for test. Work-up in chemical organic synthesis consists of a series of post-reaction operations designed using differential chemical properties to remove excess reagent or starting material, reagent products and, where possible reaction by-products. Careful consideration of post-reaction operations as a clean-up step can obviate the requirement for purification. Generally, work-up can be resolved into four operations: filtration, solvent addition (dilution, trituration), washing and separation (partition) and it is the selection and ordering of these four basic operations that constitutes a chemical work-up. Following the proven success of centralized Zymate robotic systems in the compilation, execution and work-up of complex reaction sequences, a centralized chemical work-up service has been in operation for over 12 months. It now seemed prudent that the needs of multiple parallel synthesis would be better served by the development of a compact, automated system, capable of operating in a standard chemistry laboratory fume-hood. A Zymark BenchMate platform has been configured to perform the four basic operations of chemical solution work-up. A custom-built filtration station, incorporating an integrated tipping facility for the sample tube has also been developed. Compilation of each work-up is through a set of Visual Basic procedure screens, each dedicated to a particular work-up scenario. Methods are compiled at the chemist's own PC and transferred to the BenchMate via a diskette.