ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable—Catalyzing green chemistry & engineering in the global pharmaceutical industry.

Chemistry in Water

There are many who believe that water is the “greenest” solvent, and there has been considerable work in recent years to demonstrate a variety of synthetic reactions in water that historically have only been carried out in organic solvents. Roundtable member companies have organized to share best practices and advance the reaction, work-up, and isolation technology required for running water-based synthetic organic reactions.

figure showing chemistry in water process with nanoreactor

Cellulose derivative accelerates organic chemistry in water
June 24, 2018 | C&EN

Team Leads


Team Members

Isamir Martinez, Wilfried Braje, Tim Towne, Fabrice Gallou, Jennifer Obligacion, Guy Humphrey, Doug Kjell, Nitin Patel, Paul Richardson, Richard Fox, Andrew Bayly, Steffanie Roeper, Xiaoyong Li, Paul Asters, Rachel Gershman, Dan Bailey, Alan Steven, Duc Tran


Facilitate the adoption of aqueous reaction media for organic synthesis in the Pharmaceutical Industry in order to reduce the use of hazardous solvents in drug development and manufacturing.

Team Folder

DMS: Chemistry in Water


  • Reproducibility Study: Investigate reproducibility and scalability of published chemistry in water methodology by replicating representative examples at participating companies.
  • 2020 Targeted Research Grant on “Increasing the Utility of Surfactant-Based Chemistry in Water Methodologies”: Provide support for up to 12 months (up to $50 K) in the research and development toward overcoming practical and engineering barriers to the broad application and scale-up of surfactant based chemistry in water technology

Team Status

Updated: March 2021

Goal: Promote the adoption of Chemistry in Water


  • Organized a Chemistry in Water symposium titled “Leaving Organic Solvents Behind: Chemistry in Aqueous Media” at the 2021 GC&E Conference (symposium accepted)
  • Made significant progress on the reproducibility study, where team members have evaluated published examples of amide bond formation, Suzuki, Sonogashira, SNAr, nitro reduction, and reductive amination in water at different scales.


  • A recent meeting (2020 IPRD Industrial club meeting) revealed that the field of Chemistry in Water is still facing scrutiny from the scientific community especially with regard to issues such as waste disposal of aqueous steams, commercial availability/ patent issues with surfactants, and logistical issues with running reactions in micellar media.

Activity Snapshot

  • GCIPR points of contact working with 2020 Targeted Grant awardees for “Increasing the Utility of Surfactant-based Chemistry in Water Methodologies” (Prof. Dan Weix and Prof. Martin Anderson) to fulfill the goals of the proposal.
  • Continued activities for the reproducibility study.

Upcoming Projects

  • Draft the manuscript for the reproducibility study and submit for publication by the end of the 2021 calendar year.