What we learned at ACS and what it means for your project


We recently had the opportunity to attend the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center.

The conference included thousands of chemists, chemical engineers, academicians, graduate and undergraduate students, and other related professionals,  and provided a great opportunity to network with customers, partners and industry peers. This year’s focus was on  “Nanoscience, Nanotechnology & Beyond,” and targeted a general audience focused on food and nutrition, medicine, health, energy, the environment, and other fields where chemistry plays a central role.

While it would take superhuman strength to attend all of the sessions (yes, there were 7,000 of them), listening to key sessions and hearing from noted scientists who presented their research is always inspiring and insightful.

Bringing the Plant to Life

What perhaps was most striking about the conference is the incredible innovation taking place across the industry, and how each innovation has a huge impact on the real world. Take, for instance, sessions on next-generation insect repellants, how saliva can influence taste preferences, or  a paper battery powered by bacteria.  This is the stuff of real-world applications and implications, and shows just how vital the work we do behind the scenes in the plant or lab has on humanity.

But getting deeper into our specialty, the role of new technologies, techniques and equipment played a key role at the conference as well.  From sessions on new polymer techniques and chromatography systems, to solvent evaporators and separations, presenters were able to not only demonstrate major new innovation and developments, but how they’re applied in the world – take for example, a session on Polymer Science of Every Day Life.

Here are PCI Synthesis we’re constantly investing in and exploring the latest in new chromatography technologies, polymerization and other areas. We understand how these advances affect the work we do and the final APIs and drug products they facilitate, but it’s always good when we’re reminded of just how the every-day world eventually benefits from these innovations – -with quality, safe and effective drugs and medical devices.

Filling the Sales Pipeline

Our five days at the ACS conference wasn’t just learning and discovery, however, it also gave us the opportunity to meet with customers and engage with companies in search of services like those that we provide.

We had the opportunity to fill customers in on the exciting new developments at PCI Synthesis, as we join forces with Novacap. There’s general excitement about the opportunities ahead for our customers in terms of global resources and deep API manufacturing expertise, solid state chemistry capabilities and other areas that expand and complement the capabilities of PCI Synthesis.

One particular new prospect we met with was looking for a CDMO that could develop a particular polymer under GMP standards, since several previous CMDOS failed to deliver on time. This seems to be a standard challenge – ensuring that the CDMO you work with is up to the task, backed by best practices and lots of experience so they can set the right expectations and deliver on what they promise.

Evolving the Next Gen of Chemists

What also struck us was the huge number of students, as well as job candidates that attended the conference and expo.  The front hall of the venue was entirely devoted to providing interview space for recruiters and candidates.

There’s clearly a shortage of qualified scientists to fill all areas of chemical research, development and manufacturing. According to an article in The New York Times, In the decade ending in 2024, 73 percent of STEM job growth will be in computer occupations, but only 3 percent will be in the physical sciences and 3 percent in the life sciences.  While it was encouraging to see so many bright and eager students at the ACS conference, judging by the welcoming looks on the faces of the companies doing the recruiting, we need to further encourage careers in physical sciences in order to maintain continued growth, innovation and manpower in the field.

Despite tired feet and minds racing with all kinds of new hypotheses, research findings and new tools to investigate, we left the conference hopeful about the future of chemical development and manufacture, and confident that there continues to be great market demand for CDMO services that can help put inspiration into action.

We find attending key conferences is an important way to stay on top of trends and issues, latest technologies and processes, and is another way to answer people’s questions about what we do. We always list upcoming shows we will be attending on our home page. Please check here.  We’d love to talk to you at an upcoming conference.