Customized catalytic solutions for more efficient, cost-effective processes 

Catalysts make chemical processes more efficient, reduce costs and help improve sustainability by reducing the need for harsh reaction conditions. Reaction yields can be improved and stereochemical outcomes of reactions can be controlled using chiral catalysts. Around 90 percent of chemical processes contain at least one catalytic step. As the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) becomes increasingly complex, catalysts play an ever more important role in the design of these complex transformations. 

As a contract manufacturer, Evonik plays an important role in advancing the field of catalysis to produce APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates for today and tomorrow. A number of reactions are important for API syntheses including selective hydrogenation, reductive amination, hydrogenolysis, oxidation and C-C bond formation. With more than 30 years’ experience bringing catalysis to market, Evonik offers customized solutions for catalyst design and preparation complemented with integrated process development and manufacturing of small molecules.  

Are you looking for a partner to work with on developing an API synthetic pathway? At Evonik, our portfolio includes homogeneous and heterogeneous transition metal and precious metal catalyst systems, as well as biocatalysis including whole cell catalysts and enzymes. In addition, we are experienced in the field of organocatalysis for asymmetric transformations and can develop solutions for clients based on this knowledge.  

We have an integrated full-service offering from in-house catalyst screening and development to production and scale up of the final process. With our multi-parallel testing platforms, we are able to perform catalyst testing tailored for the various development stages in line with customers projects. With our broad asset capabilities, we can offer the upscaling of the corresponding route enabling large scale manufacturing of APIs and intermediates. No matter the scale, we offer a global presence with capacities from small to large-scale manufacturing.  

When you partner with us, you benefit from: 

  • Our experience in homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis to tackle the tough problems 
  • Broad experience in bio- and organocatalysis as alternative metal-free variants 
  • Novel solutions for challenging catalytic steps that have not yet been described 
  • Efficiency and speed to quickly develop, apply and improve catalytic processes in production  
  • Flexible, multi-purpose plants to supply your desired product from several kilograms to multi-tons 

As a result, Evonik can offer customers ready-to-use catalysis systems, optimization of the catalytic reaction parameter and fully developed process to be integrated into small molecule manufacturing.  


Our expertise in developing homogeneous catalyst systems is based on more than 20 years in catalytic process development. Whether you are looking for initial screening tests or multi-ton production, we are ready to help.  

We have a large portfolio of homogeneous catalysts at small scale:  

  • Approx. 1200 ligands (small scale) 
  • Approx. 250 metal precursors (small scale) 
  • All important ligand classes 
  • Diverse ligand library 
  • License free 


Evonik has been a leader in heterogeneous chemical catalysis, offering several major heterogeneous catalyst brands.  

We have a large in-house portfolio of heterogeneous catalysts:  

  • Precious metal powder catalysts (>100 commercial products) 
  • Raney-type catalysts (>10 commercial products) 
  • Continuous process catalysts 
  • Tailored catalysts for all important reaction classes 
  • License free 


A broad technology base is especially important for the production of chiral APIs if starting materials from the chiral pool cannot be used. The application of organocatalysis for the enantioselective introduction of chirality is a very good option because it is versatile and superior to other asymmetric methods. Typically, an organocatalyst consists of a chiral carbon framework which has a structure adapted to the relevant asymmetric reaction and does not require expensive metals such as palladium, rhodium, or ruthenium. This approach offers great advantages in terms of cost efficiency and sustainability.  

Our expertise in developing chiral organocatalyst systems is based on more than 10 years in asymmetric process development. Evonik can offer customers ready-to-use chiral ligands, optimization of the organocatalytic reaction parameter and fully developed processes to be integrated into chiral small molecule manufacturing. Whether you are looking for initial screening of chiral ligands or multi-ton production, we are ready to help. 


Evonik has extensive experience in developing and manufacturing APIs and intermediates using biocatalysis. Our biocatalysis services allow us to provide our clients with dedicated bio-based, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing solutions. Enzymes are biocatalysts that are important for many different biotransformations in nature. When used for API synthesis, biocatalysts are an indispensable tool to achieve the desired regio, enantio and stereoselectivity. Biocatalytic processes often require milder conditions which makes them inherently more sustainable than chemical catalysts. By making use of biocatalysis in the pharmaceutical industry, we can help reduce the carbon footprint of API synthesis.  

Partnering with Evonik – an experienced Contract Development and manufacturing company (CDMO) – can allow you to benefit from: 

  • Full service from screening to biocatalyst supply and large-scale production 
  • Enzymatic chemistry with more than 20 different enzymes at production scale 
  • A strong track record in developing new enzyme platforms (bacteria, algae, fungi) 
  • More than 40 years of biotechnology expertise 
  • Development and scale-up of biocatalytic processes 

As a result, Evonik can offer customers ready-to-use enzymes, optimization of the biocatalytic reaction parameters and fully developed bio-based processes to be integrated into small molecule manufacturing.  


Evonik offers a unique combination of catalyst and process development in batch and continuous mode.  

Key applications of catalysis at Evonik:  

  • (Enantioselective) hydrogenation 
  • (Enantioselective) reductive amination 
  • C-C and C-X coupling 
  • Hydroformylation and carbonylation 
  • Metathesis 
  • Oxidation and dehydrogenation 


Evonik can offer customers catalysis systems, optimization of the catalytic reaction parameter and fully developed processes to be integrated into small molecule manufacturing. We cover the whole project from development to scale-up and commercial production under cGMP. Our versatile screening and scale-up equipment covers all typical reaction classes. You can rely on a flexible project team of organic chemists and engineers, a broad flexible portfolio of advanced technologies and our long, strong track-record in all cGMP-related topics.  


We have three global sites for catalytic reactions: Hanau and Dossenheim in Germany, and Tippecanoe in the U.S. These sites offer the following capabilities for catalytic reactions: 

  • Up to 25 bar 
  • 80-200 °C 
  • 100 – 16,000 l glass-lined, steel or Hastelloy autoclaves 

For optimization and scale up we offer Monel, glass lined and stainless steel.  


Recovering and reusing high-value catalysts is increasingly important if processes are to remain economic and ecological. By definition a catalyst is not used up during a reaction, however, it can be degraded or deactivated, and a loss of catalyst is possible during work up. Using membranes via nanofiltration to recover transition metal catalysts is one approach to maximizing the use of a catalyst and minimizing waste.   

Evonik recognizes the high potential for membrane technology. At its site in Tippecanoe, Evonik recently began a catalyst recovery process for soluble palladium used to synthesize an oral drug. By using nanofiltration in organic solvents, Evonik saved major costs on transport and refining and made a major reduction in CO2 footprint.  

Transition metal catalyzed reactions are widely used for chemical transformations at large scale. Reactions such as Suzuki, Heck and Buchwald-Hartwig couplings are powerful tools for manufacturing pharmaceuticals at large scale. Evonik developed a business process for the recovery of soluble palladium (Pd) from aqueous streams via scavengers and from organic streams via membrane filtration with PuraMem®. Pd metal content is 65 kg per year at Tippecanoe. Through the recovery process 20 percent Pd was recovered as a solid, 60 percent from the organic stream and 10 percent from the aqueous stream. Alongside cost savings, this led to a reduction in CO2 as indicated below: 


Amount of Pd recovered 

CO2 reduction  

(as a result of recovery) 


4 kg 

100 MT 


48 kg 

1200 MT 

2022 (up to June) 

35 kg 



If you are looking for superior technical solutions, quicker and secure timelines, together with a strong interest in sustainability through innovative seamless catalyst recovery, talk to one of our experts about your upcoming project. Get in touch by filling out our contact form


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