Delivering Advanced Materials: All in A Day’s Work for Today’s CDMO


Here at SEQENS, we spend a lot of time talking about the interesting projects we implement for sponsors – from research and discovery, through to manufacturing scale up and commercialization. Yet as is often the case with Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs), an area that often falls under the radar is our work developing advanced materials that may not even be intended for medical applications. 

We’ve been working with dozens of startups to help them commercialize new technologies in diverse fields such as electronics, advanced coatings, diagnostics, and alternative energy. We provide trial quantities of the materials these organizations need, so that they can further develop proof-of-concept work, in order to each  their next funding milestones.

Some of these advanced materials, that go way beyond medical use, include the following: 

Phosphonic Acids: These are generally nonvolatile solids that are poorly soluble in organic solvents, but soluble in water and common alcohols. Phosphonic Acids have been used for the manufacture of nanoparticles, used in electronic applications, such as for the development of high-resolution screens.  Phosphonic acid are essential to the development of quantum dots, or very small semiconductor particles having optical and electronic properties that differ from larger LED particles.

Phosphonic acids are also used as metal chelators, chemical compounds which are attracted to and can bind with metals, as well as, play a role in oxygen transport and in photosynthesis. In the nuclear industry, Phosphonic acids have a strong affinity to attaching to certain radioactive metals, and can be used to help clean equipment in nuclear power plants, where radioactive materials are used.

Here at SEQENS, we sell Phosphonic acid to research labs and universities around the world and we have the capabilities to produce metric ton quantities for use in a variety of projects.

Imidazoles: This type of an advanced material isused in high-end adhesive products for use in aerospace & defense markets, for example. Since the movement is toward lighter and faster airplanes, missiles, rockets and defense components, manufacturers in these markets rely on Imidazoles to provide some of the most rugged sealants possible for mission-critical applications.  We’ve been manufacturing Imidazoles for more than 20 years. 

Five Things to Look for in an Advanced Materials Supplier

As with the supplier of any material that is essential to the development of your proof-of-concept project, or even mature product, it’s important to create a close partnership with your provider.  While in many instances the advanced material you require is provided by a very select group of suppliers, below are the best practices to implement when working with them.

Properly vet your suppliers. This may include having each supplier complete a self-evaluation questionnaire, perform on-site evaluations and quality audits.  It also is a good thing to speak to other customers of the supplier and hear about their experiences first-hand.

Establish strong relationships.  Once you find a good supplier, it’s worth the effort to make it a long-lasting one. Making sure you pay on-time and are communicating regularly about any issues that crop up can go a long way to making the process a good one for both parties.

Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish.  While it’s always good to shop around and source the best advanced materials at good prices, don’t be swayed by price alone. Cutting corners can end up being much costlier in the long run, when products need to be disposed of or when it means failed inspections or long delays.

Document the process. The supplier qualification process should be documented into Standard Operating Procedures reports by trained staff in order to properly perform an evaluation. These procedures may include a tiered system of risk assessment for all suppliers.

Having a CDMO that can perform R&D and manufacturing, as well as provide critical advanced materials puts you at a distinct advantage. CDMOs uniquely understand the imperative to have quality materials for your mission-critical work, and they regularly work with their own raw materials suppliers, so they understand the challenges and requirements and what they like to see in a supplier. Simply put, they “get it.”

While the medical and life sciences fields will remain our key focal point, as we partner with organizations to develop Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and New Chemical Entities (NCEs), we’re proud of our ability to develop advanced materials that are meeting very specialized needs for markets as diverse as aerospace, defense or alternative energy. Whatever the application, we’re ready to deliver.