Press release
October 13, 2009

Catalysis: Evonik and Solvias Renew License Agreement

License agreement simplifies business model for vanadium-doped precious metal powder catalysts

The Catalysts Business Line of Evonik Industries and the Swiss-based company Solvias AG have renewed their license agreement for vanadium-doped precious metal powder catalysts for the hydrogenation of nitro compounds. Evonik will continue to market these catalysts, which were developed by Solvias, on an exclusive basis but the underlying business model has been greatly simplified effective October 1, 2009. “Anyone purchasing these catalysts from Evonik now automatically acquires the right to utilize the technology,” explains Dr. Jürgen Krauter, head of Marketing at Evonik’s Catalysts Business Line. “Additional license agreements and fees will no longer be necessary. What remains is a high-performing technology that converts even complicated nitro compounds into amines reliably and with high yields.”

The vanadium-doped precious metal powder catalysts can be used for selective hydrogenation of nitro aromatics. Their advantage compared with other catalysts is that they do not target the halogen substituents in the target molecule. That makes handling nitro compounds safer and generates fewer by-products.

For highly complex nitro aromatics Evonik offers a second form of this catalyst which is additionally modified with hypophosphoric acid. This is used where other catalysts reach their limits: When the target molecule contains reactive components such as double and triple bonds, carbonyl groups or highly reactive oxime groups as well as halogens. Here too, the catalyst ensures selective hydrogenation of the nitro group only and thus obviates the need for time-consuming use of protective groups

Solvias uses technology for customized process optimization

Solvias will continue to use this technology for customized process development and optimization. “This technology complements Solvias’ broadly based expertise in heterogeneous catalysis, which ranges from the development of heterogeneous catalysis technologies and high-pressure hydrogenation through the implementation of manufacturing processes to process development and scale-up in our GMP laboratories,” comments Dr. Stephan Haitz, head of Marketing & Sales at Solvias. This Swiss company thus retains access to the entire platform of technologies for hydrogenation of nitro groups with vanadium-based catalysts. Alongside the ready-to-use vanadium-doped catalysts marketed by Evonik, this includes in-situ variants comprising platinum catalysts to which a vanadium salt is added during the reaction.

About Evonik

Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany which operates in three business areas: Chemicals, Energy and Real Estate. Evonik is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our strengths are creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2008 about 41,000 employees generated sales of about €15.9 billion and an operating profit (EBITDA) of about €2.2 billion.

About Solvias

Solvias is a privately held company located in Basel, Switzerland. With over 300 highly qualified employees, Solvias supports the research and development of new drug substances and the optimization of manufacturing processes for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life science companies worldwide. Customers benefit from a wide range of experience in analytical services for small molecules and biologics, solid-state development such as polymorphism, salt and crystallization screening, kilo-scale API manufacturing for clinical trials up to phase II, asymmetric synthesis, hazardous and high pressure chemistry, CX-coupling, and process analytical technologies (PAT).


In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.