Technology and Business Opportunities in Chemistry

Business Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates

Table of Contents
Tech-Transfer Intro P.1
Choosing a Career Path P.2
Places to Start Looking P.3

Future plans for Post-Graduate Chemists

Graduates are employed in a wide variety of fields including chemical manufacturing, petroleum and petrochemical analysis, mining, biotechnology and environmental analysis. Chemistry Graduates can apply their research towards business and entrepreneurship opportunities through technology transfer.

From Lab to Corporate

Chemical Technology. Studies include organic and inorganic chemistry, industrial and physical chemistry, applied biochemistry, quantitative and instrumental analysis, and chemistry specific to the oil and gas, agricultural, food and environmental sectors.

Principles for Forging Business Opportunities

The major mechanisms for technology transfer involve either forging collaborations with external companies or the formation of new 'spin-out' companies. For either route, an essential step is to secure strong intellectual property rights and facilitate their transfer to the company via appropriate licensing or assignment strategies.

In 1987, universities were given ownership of any intellectual property that they created from government-funded projects. Since then, universities have developed support structures for technology transfer that aim to identify, protect and exploit their intellectual property.

Government has also provided funding streams, such as the Higher Education Innovation Fund, to encourage these activities. As a result, there are a growing number of staff posts within universities and intermediary organizations targeted specifically at promoting and supporting knowledge transfer.


Professional Development

It is important to look in the right places and get to know the right people in order to get ahead of your competition. Here are some places where to start looking for where you want to work and whom you wish to work for.


Transfer of technical information is necessary to realize manufacturing formula established in the above in the actual production facility. In the past, the technology transfer was mainly seen as standard transfer or as technology instruction from technology department to production department within the same company. In principle, how accurately transfer technical information (know-how) from transferring party to transferred party is important, and it is essential to establish responsibility system and prepare documents. When transfer technology of new products from research and development department to production department, technical information to be transferred should be complied as research and development report (development report and recommend to use the development report as a part of technology transfer documentations). Production is implemented after various validation studies verify that it is able to stably produce based on transferred manufacturing formula. While the manufacturing facility accepting technology is responsible for validation, the research and development department transferring technology should take responsibility for validations such as

  1. Performance qualification (PQ), cleaning validation,
  1. Process validation (PV) unique to subject drugs.
  2. For validations such as installation qualification (IQ) and
  3. Operational qualification (OQ), which are not unique to the subject drugs,

it is possible to effectively use data of already implemented validations.

Furthermore, chemists can use their research skills and apply themselves at chemical plants in making chem-based resources, such as rubber or synthetic oil. Chemistry isn’t all about research, but rather being able to use chemistry towards making supplies, materials, etc. for companies or large corporations. There are multiple paths for chemists to choose from. When choosing a path do not limit your options, but rather expand on them.

An understanding of the key processes involved in technology transfer is important for chemists working in both academia and industry and there are now many examples where effective technology transfer has led to major commercial success. The event 'What a chemist needs to know about technology transfer' introduced and explored the concepts of technology transfer in the context of chemistry and the chemical-using industries. It took place in the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham on Thursday, 9 July 2009.

“We see that 80% of chemists are to some extent dissatisfied with the direction they feel they’re being pointed towards in their research”

~Tim Hector

4 Key Terms to ensure successful Technology Transfer

  • Packaging line trials - if a product is a new SKU to the site, it is crucial to perform line trials, filling the product into the proposed bottle or cap.
  • Stability indicating methods should already be in place, enabling onsite transfer against the protocol signed off by the client.
  • Cleaning validation needs to be assessed, specifications and batch records need to be written.
  • A Health and Safety Review needs to be conducted to ensure the ability to safely handle the product.

Transfer Protocols

Always strive to develop transfer protocols in such a way that critical steps and machine differences are adequately challenged. It may be necessary to develop new operating ranges for the product, in which case one or more batches may be required at this stage. Remember, the more thoroughly a process is challenged in this early phase, the more robust that process will be moving forward. A robust process means reproducible quality, which in turn means fewer rejections down the line. When satisfied that you’ve nailed down the process, it's time to move through validation.

SUPAC Guidelines and Regulatory Strategy are a set of online FDA guidelines which identify the types of equipment available for different pharmaceutical manufacturing functions. Let's take milling as an example of a common manufacturing function covered by SUPAC documents.

Milling equipment can be organized into several different classes, from V-blenders to ribbon blenders to bin blenders; SUPAC charts allow efficient comparison between the various classes of milling equipment. During an ideal technology transfer, equipment should stay within the same class or sub-class, eliminating unnecessary variables and reducing the number of questions that may come up during FDA pre-approval reviews and annual reports.

Links to Help You on Your Career Journey

By Spencer Garcia

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