BASF chemist receives 2008 Siegfried Medal

Award for chiral intermediates production process

Ludwigshafen, (PresseBox) - Professor Dr. Klaus Ditrich, who works in BASF's biocatalysis research, is to receive the "Siegfried Medal for trendsetting work in process chemistry." This renowned prize is awarded every other year by Siegfried Ltd. of Zofingen, Switzerland, in cooperation with the Organic Chemistry Institute of the University of Zurich. The international jury, which is co-chaired by Professor Jay Siegel, University of Zurich, and Dr. Hans-Rudolf Marti, Siegfried Ltd., comprises industry and academia representatives from Europe, the USA and Asia, among them Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Ryoji Noyori from Japan. The prize with a value of 10,000 Swiss francs will be awarded at the Siegfried Symposium in Zurich on September 4, 2008.

Practicable processes for producing chiral intermediates The award recognizes the achievements of Ditrich's research team in the development of technically practicable production processes for optically active amines, alcohols and carboxylic acids. These chiral intermediates, marketed by BASF under the ChiPros® brand, are used by the company's customers as key building blocks in synthesizing active ingredients for crop protection products and pharmaceuticals. Ditrich was involved in particular in the development of an industrial manufacturing process for optically active amines. The key step in this process utilizes an enzyme-catalyzed reaction that allows the two enantiomers present in the starting material to be separated in a highly efficient manner.

Enantiomers is the technical term for the two types of molecule that you find in chiral molecules. They are similar to each other like your left and right hands ("cheir" is Greek for hand), just like mirror images of each other, but not superimposable. This is a small difference with a great impact on the active ingredients made from them. Only one of the two types of molecule produces the desired effect in the finished product. Chiral molecules play a vital role in today's production of pharmaceuticals and crop protectants.

BASF: growing portfolio of chiral intermediates BASF provides its customers with access to a broad and steadily growing portfolio of chiral amines, beta-aminoacids, aminoalcohols, aromatic and aliphatic alpha-hydroxy acids, alcohols and epoxides. Building on many years of experience in this field, the company can develop and produce new chiral intermediates in close cooperation with its customers anywhere in the world, purposefully and fast. Delivery quantities available range from the lab scale to large-scale industrial volumes. BASF currently operates three production facilities for ChiPros at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Geismar, USA, with a combined annual capacity in excess of 4,000 metric tons.

Chiral intermediates exemplify the successful utilization of white biotechnology, which BASF considers to be a 21st century key technology. Also known as industrial biotechnology, white biotechnology allows many product and process innovations that would often be impossible to achieve by any other route. This technology uses microorganisms (fermentation) or isolated enzymes (biocatalysis) to make products like enzymes or chiral intermediates. BASF has nearly three decades of experience in this field.

About Siegfried
Siegfried Group is a globally active life sciences company with facilities in Switzerland, Germany, Malta and the United States. At the end of 2007, Siegfried had some 900 employees and achieved a turnover of roughly 318 million Swiss francs. Siegfried Holding AG is traded on the Swiss stock exchange. Siegfried operates in two markets: Siegfried Actives develops and produces active pharmaceutical substances as well as the appropriate intermediates and standard products for research-based pharmaceutical companies. Siegfried Generics manufactures complex generics.


BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from oil and gas to chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals. As a reliable partner BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF has more than 95,000 employees and posted sales of almost €58 billion in 2007. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at

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