Chiral Chemistry

Harnessing a long heritage in chiral chemistry

Build upon a foundation of rich technical expertise and process understanding, we develop and scale up a diverse range of chiral syntheses to enable our customers to establish the optimal route while delivering high purity and efficiency.

Chiral synthesis at Sterling

At Sterling, we develop and scale up chiral syntheses to generate complex chiral molecules for our customers. We offer a wide range of chiral capabilities to meet our customers’ specific project requirements, supported by our team’s robust technical expertise, process understanding, and collective experience working with complex chemistries.

Our team has an extensive understanding of and experience with chiral molecules, enabling us to help customers select optimal processes and achieve a product that meets their requirements. Through a variety of chiral capabilities, we can help you efficiently achieve a chiral product with the desired properties to ensure your API’s therapeutic success. ... Read more

Following are some of the things that contribute to our strength in chiral chemistry:  

  • Expert partners: Our work in chiral chemistry is supported by our Technology and Innovation Programme, where we partner with leading academic and technical institutions to apply emerging technologies.
  • Diverse capabilities: We offer a range of chiral chemistry services, including reduction, kinetic resolution and epoxidation.
  • Complementary strengths: Our chiral chemistry services are augmented by our strong expertise in complex chemistry, as well as process design and optimization.Read less

Key benefits

The study of chiral molecules has several benefits. These include:


Chiral chemistry supports the supply of highly versatile intermediates in drug development.


Chiral purity is integral to maximising the safety and effectiveness of drugs as they make their way to market.

Route optimisation:

Chiral synthesis can enable a more efficient and effective route in API development, minimising waste.

A diverse range of chiral technologies

We leverage a range of capabilities and technologies to optimise chiral chemistry development, scale up and manufacture for our customers, including chiral kinetic resolution, chiral epoxidation, chiral reduction, chiral cyclopropanation and chiral hydrogenation.

Learn more about our diverse chiral chemistry services.

We leverage kinetic resolution technology to develop chirally pure diols and epoxides from the same process. Today, we utilise kinetic resolution to manufacture a key raw material for our customers at a scale of 120 tonnes each year. In addition to kinetic resolution, we also have capabilities in amino and phenolic resolution.

Our epoxidation capabilities enable us to deliver our customers versatile intermediates, with the ability to manufacture epoxides from the lab scale to the metric tonne scale. We can harness stereoselective epoxidation, using Jacobsen Manganese Salen technology, to deliver compounds of high chiral purity.

By utilising a variety of chiral reduction technologies, we can provide our customers access to highly pure complex intermediates and APIs in a cost-effective manner. Our chiral reduction capabilities include:

  • Aminoindanol-borane: We can operate aminoindanol-borane reduction at a scale exceeding 300 kilograms. Key advantages include low catalyst loading, a typical enantiomeric excess (ee) exceeding 95-99%, and a typical isolated yield greater than 85%.
  • Chiral hydrogenation: We have the tools to carry out chiral hydrogenation at both the development and production scale utilising a range of chiral hydrogenation catalysts, with the ability to handle high pressures. We can cater for scales of 450L to 2250L in our hydrogenation vessels at 3.5 bar, and we have high pressure vessel for batches up to 4500L at 10 bar.
  • Enzymatic reduction: We empower our customers to overcome chemistry challenges with biocatalytic solutions. We can quickly access novel enzymes through our partnership with Nzomics, enabling us to utilise non-commercially available enzymes in our customers’ projects or create bespoke enzymes to meet their unique requirements.

An understanding of chirality is critical to working with a variety of compounds that are widely utilised in the pharmaceutical industry. Our team’s deep knowledge and experience with a range of chiral syntheses have enabled us to repeatedly overcome chiral challenges in our customers’ development and manufacturing programmes. We work with our customers to develop APIs with the desired properties in an efficient and scalable manner.

Mike Gibson | Chief Technical Officer

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