360° Lab Tour Menu Audio

Digital Lab Walkthrough

As an independent, scientifically-unbiased and commercially-minded CRO, we are a reliable and trusted partner for innovation.

Take a tour of our labs at your own pace in this digital tour.

Play Introduction


The CatSci Way

Here at CatSci Ltd, we employ our own unique approach to fully explore and understand the challenges of your drug substance development projects – we call it ‘The CatSci Way.’ This enables us to design and deliver customised solutions to precisely address your process research and development needs, minimising project risks and creating safer, more economical and more environmentally sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Meet Ross
Dr Ross Burn, CEO

Welcome: Transcript

The CatSci Way

Hello! Welcome to CatSci and my home office during the pandemic. Firstly, I would like to reassure you that we are fully open for business during these challenging times.

At CatSci, we aspire to develop economically and environmentally sustainable chemical processes so that our pharmaceutical customers can develop affordable best-in-class small molecule therapeutics to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the world. Scientifically-led and commercially-minded, we are your dependable and trusted partner for innovation.

We pride ourselves in being perfect-for-purpose, meaning that we will always tailor our solutions specifically in response to our customers' needs and treat each and every project as if it were our own. Essentially, we seek to be a seamless extension of our customer’s internal capability and capacity.

I am very proud of the team here at CatSci. Our ethos is to continuously improve in order to be the best scientists that we can be. Please take the rest of the tour and meet my fantastic team.

Our ways of working

Your Innovation Partner

Our Ways of Working reflect our extensive knowledge gathered through working on hundreds of reactions and processes addressing the drug substance needs of pharmaceutical companies. We are scientifically unbiased and commercially independent. This means that we develop solutions guided by science that are perfect-for-purpose, supporting any and all of our customer’s needs.

Meet Sam
Dr Sam Whitmarsh,
Head of Process Research and Development

Our ways of working: Transcript

Your Innovation Partner

Hello! I’m Sam, the Head of Process Research and Development here at CatSci. My role involves the coordination of the technical team, ensuring that we have the right skills, tools and capabilities to deliver first-class process research and development for our customers.

CatSci has been in operation since 2010, and over this time we have delivered over 150 different drug substance projects. We are all co-located at a single site in South Wales, near Cardiff. This means that everything is in one place, which reduces barriers to efficient ways of working. We are able to bring together the right expertise to solve our customers’ problems and make decisions quickly.

We have five state-of-the-art laboratories. The most recent was brought online in February 2020 and is dedicated to process understanding and optimisation. We have a laboratory set up for catalysis, hydrogenation, crystallisation and process scale-up and two laboratories dedicated to the development of potent compounds. All of these laboratories have the required process and analytical equipment for the chemists, and are supported by an additional analytical laboratory, exclusively for analytical development.

Of course, having great facilities means nothing without having great people. At CatSci we have a fantastic team of highly experienced and highly educated scientists. Around 80% of our workforce are PhD qualified and many have post doc and large pharma experience.

We pride ourselves on being independent and scientifically unbiased. We develop our processes to be guided by the science and be the right one for our customers’ specific needs.

We partner with the aim of acting as an extension of our customer’s R&D capability. We spend time really getting to understand their needs and then work together to provide a perfect-for-purpose solution that’s right for their challenge.

Each of our projects has a dedicated strategic account leader who supports the overall relationship, and a technical project leader who acts as the primary contact looking after technical delivery, project timelines and communication. The technical project lead also coordinates the project team – both chemistry and analytical – to harness the experience of our scientists. We always provide a fully tailored technical report to transfer process knowledge, and we are working on innovative new technology that will allow video tech transfer and experimentation visualisation that will add a new dimension to the CatSci customer interaction.

Process R&D

Perfect for Purpose

We have the experience and expertise to understand your process development journey and to undertake all your route scouting and selection, process design and analytical development in a phase-appropriate manner. This allows us to optimise and scale up your process from milligrams to kilos in a faster, safer and more economical way, whilst ensuring that we meet your deadlines, quality targets and regulatory needs in order to power your drug substance development.

Dr Dan Smith, Head of Portfolio

Meet Dan

Process R&D: Transcript

Perfect for Purpose

Hi! I’m Dan, CatSci’s Head of Portfolio.

I’ve been at CatSci for 6 years now and it’s been a real pleasure to contribute to the company’s significant growth over this time.

In our dedicated scale-up area, we are equipped with two 20 L workflows including jacketed vessels, continuous rotary evaporators (such as the Radley’s Distamatic) and kilo-scale drying ovens. Primarily, we use this capability to demonstrate the scalability of processes developed in-house and also to supply representative material to our customers, be that for internal reference, further R&D, or in some cases for toxicity or DRF studies. Typically, we are able to produce hundreds of grams for longer routes or low kilos for higher yielding, shorter routes. Prior to any scale-up, we always conduct a risk assessment on a case by case basis alongside a review of the experimental observations, calorimetry and DSC data.

In a recent example, our team was able to take a very dilute four-step sequence, where many steps exceeded 100 relative volumes, and optimise the process to enable delivery of three kilos of material in less than 4 months.

Several parameters are key to scaling a process successfully. The most fundamental of these, in our opinion, is reaction understanding, to ensure all factors are appreciated and that quality specifications can be met robustly.

Process Design

A Bespoke Approach

A new laboratory facility dedicated to process design and development was opened in February 2020 at our headquarters in Cardiff. Our scientists utilise experimental design principles and thinking, including formal DoE where applicable, to properly explore the reaction space in order to create robust manufacturing processes to support later stage development and commercial requirements.

Dr Alan Steven, Senior Principal Scientist
Meet Alan

Process Design: Transcript

A Bespoke Approach

Hi! I’m Alan, a Senior Principal Scientist at CatSci.

The last year has seen a huge amount of internal investment in facilities at CatSci to enable us to develop better chemical processes for our customers. A new chemistry laboratory facility has been invested in to enhance our capabilities for simulating scale-up. This includes investments in continuous solvent evaporation equipment, Nutsche filter dryer equipment, interchangeable reactor workstation technology and isoperibolic calorimetry technology. In our new facility, EasyMax reactor workstation technology equipped with automated sampling technology for reaction profiling allows reactive chemistry envisaged for plant reactors to be scaled down for study in the laboratory.

Working at CatSci means carefully listening to customer needs and proposing solutions that are perfect for their purpose. CatSci scientists identify risks in manufacturing processes, before prioritising them for further study. Where a mechanistic approach to process understanding is not possible, or where the performance of a chromatographic method is to be examined, experimental designs – which systematically vary inputs according to a prespecified design – can be executed in parallelised equipment and the results interrogated using JMP software.


Safe and Secure

Safely developing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and their intermediates comes with a number of practical challenges including handling, containment, cost and security. Having recognised these issues, we have invested in two additional fully equipped, segregated laboratories where we can handle your OEB-4 compounds efficiently and safely.

Dr Ed Turp, Facilities Director
Meet Ed

OEB-4: Transcript

Safe and Secure

Hi! I’m Ed, the Facilities Director here at CatSci.

CatSci has grown considerably over the last few years by investing in our people and assets.

One of the key areas that we have invested in are laboratories that can safely handle potent materials and their manufacturing processes. In these laboratories we perform chemistry on the small scale, in vials and flasks, and can scale-up to hundreds of grams. We have dedicated PPE and occupational hygiene control procedures in these laboratories to protect our staff from the hazards of working with potent materials. The laboratories are also supported by co-located analytical instrumentation to test and analyse reactions and materials. We have been independently audited by Safebridge and always welcome any inspections our partners might request.

We would also be happy to discuss any potent API questions you might have related to your compounds.


Tailored Solutions

Developing environmentally and economically sustainable chemical processes is in our DNA. As such, discovering, optimising and implementing bio- and chemo-catalytic reactions is an essential part of our green chemistry toolbox.

Dr Vargini Thangavadivale, Associate Principal Scientist
Meet Vargini

Catalysis: Transcript

Tailored Solutions

Hi, I am Vargini, an Associate Principal Scientist at CatSci.

I am mainly focused on optimisation and robust scale-up of catalytic processes. The use of catalysis to develop green processes has always been a very important tool here at CatSci. We have a bespoke glovebox that allows up to 5 scientists to work simultaneously and perform many air- and moisture-sensitive reactions in parallel.

Our in-depth experience in both bio- and chemo-catalysis allows us to systematically explore the reaction space and find the best catalyst for a chemical process. We have an extensive library of over 500 commercially available catalysts and ligands.

We are unbiased on which technology to use in our processes and are willing to screen all commercially available options, regardless of the IP owner, to ensure the best results for your process.

To efficiently screen atmospheric pressure reactions, we have refined workflows for 24, 48 and 96 parallel reactions with fast analytics for profiling. For pressurised reactions such as asymmetric hydrogenation we have a specialist kit for screening 8, 48 and 96 parallel reactions.

We, as a team, take great pride in developing optimised catalytic processes that perform robustly on plant scale.


A Key Step

Creating robust crystallisation processes can be one of the most challenging facets of drug substance development – yet it is critical. Our expertise coupled with our industry-leading workflows means that we can develop scalable crystallisation processes that will meet quality targets and manufacturability demands.

Dr Jo Sampson, Senior Scientist
Meet Jo

Crystallisation: Transcript

A Key Step

Hi! I’m Jo and I work here at CatSci as a Senior Scientist.

Here at CatSci, we have extensive experience in developing robust and scalable crystallisation procedures.

Our laboratories are fully equipped with key, industry-leading instruments enabling us to efficiently develop crystallisation processes for each step of an API synthetic route.

Using our crystallisation screening systems, we first identify the optimum solvent system, seeding temperature, and isolation temperature for our customers’ compounds.

Then, through the use of our benchtop chemical synthesis reactors, we trial multiple procedures in parallel on small scale. This allows thorough optimisation of the crystallisation processes prior to scaling-up. We have vast experience validating the robustness of our crystallisation processes for our customers, and routinely perform demonstration batches up to 20 L scale.

All of our scientists attend training courses in advanced crystallisation, and our super users attend international workshops, keeping them up to date with new ideas and developments within the field of batch crystallisation.

Complementing our in-house expertise, CatSci works with a highly experienced consultant who specialises in the crystallisation of pharmaceutical materials. We also have an established partnership with a company specialising in polymorph and salt screening.

Therefore, through this effective combination of in-house expertise and specialised external partners, CatSci is able to provide a well-rounded service to our customers for all their crystallisation needs.


Essential Expertise

Here at CatSci Ltd, we passionately believe that effective process research and development must go hand in hand with effective analytical development. That’s why our scientists work side by side in integrated teams to exploit functional excellence that delivers total project solutions. And also why we are constantly investing in and expanding our analytical team and its capabilities.

Duncan Thompson, Analytical Team Leader
Meet Duncan

Analytical: Transcript

Essential Expertise

Hi! I’m Duncan, the Analytical Team Leader at CatSci, and have over 20 years of experience working for big pharmaceutical companies in process research and development, covering chromatography, spectroscopy and process analytical technologies.

At CatSci we understand the importance of getting analytical chemistry right on projects. In fact, both our CEO and Head of Process Research and Development are trained analytical chemists.

An analytical project lead is assigned for each project, accountable for the delivery of all the analytical needs on the project, as well as working with the customer to ensure we continue to meet their requirements.

Our analysts have in-depth experience in techniques such as NMR, LC method development, LC-MS, GC-MS and standard analytical techniques. For a typical project, we typically deploy one analytical chemist per three or four chemists. We recognise that reaction and process understanding requires a close collaboration between chemistry and analytical functions, and also for ensuring process safety.

In addition to our embedded analysts, all of our chemistry laboratories have walk up LC-MS and GC-MS systems. Our chemists are fully trained to run their own LC-MS or GC-MS reaction samples and are able interpret detailed analytical data. This gives them access to faster information and reduces experimental turnaround time whilst freeing the hands and minds of the analysts to work on more complex problem solving.

Through in-house capabilities and close partnering with preferred analytical laboratories for niche equipment, we are able to cover all analytical needs required for data-driven process development and QC testing of drug substances.

Health & Safety

Our Priority

The health and safety of our staff is our number one priority. We operate a hierarchical system of Safety, Health and Environment controls with a matrix of risk assessment and mitigation at all levels including site, project, task and experimental operations.

Meet Mark
Dr Mark Waring, General Manager

Health & Safety: Transcript

Our Priority

Hi! I’m Mark, the General Manager at CatSci.

I am delighted to have joined the business in the last few months.

The safety and wellbeing of our staff is of paramount importance. CatSci operates a risk assessment program to underpin its approach to site operations and chemistry. This risk assessment program is reviewed annually to ensure that it is fit for purpose. Our comprehensive set of SOPs is also regularly reviewed, and our overarching site operations assessment is reviewed annually.

We have a strong culture of safety reporting. We have management audits supported by the facilities team. Furthermore, we have accident and incident reporting that includes near misses and safety concerns to promote both bottom-up and top-down safety culture. This ensures that staff of all levels are involved in the management of health and safety. We have recorded no major accidents or incidents in 10 years of operation.

All waste on site is segregated before disposal to support our comprehensive recycling program wherever possible. Hazardous waste is collected under permit by a registered waste contractor for reprocessing and reuse, or ultimate disposal. Our facilities team have conducted ‘duty of care’ audits of our waste contractor to ensure permit compliance and records are kept for the statutory period by CatSci.

Our facility has a layer of electronic control for access to the building, and the technology park where our facility is situated is protected by 24-hour security.

In terms of the well-being of our staff, we conduct regular surveys to ensure that we take the pulse of the organisation on a regular basis.

Get in touch

Partnering with CatSci

To explore ways in which we can collaborate to deliver your drug substance development projects, or simply learn more about us, please get in touch. Scientifically-led and commercially-minded, we look forward to forming vital relationships that realise our ambition of becoming a true innovation partner.


+44 29 2083 7444


Meet Simon
Dr Simon Tyler, COO


Partnering with CatSci

Hi! I’m Simon Tyler, COO here at CatSci. My main responsibility is to drive the commercial side of the business.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to see a little bit of who we are and what we do. But most importantly why we do it, because across the company we are passionate about playing our part in delivering new medicines to those that need them.

I’m especially proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone here at CatSci, particularly during these challenging circumstances for us all. Due to their efforts, we were able to continue to provide our customers with perfect-for-purpose process research and development solutions all whilst maintaining a safe and secure laboratory environment.

If you would like to explore how CatSci might be a good fit to support your drug substance development – from IND-enabling and candidate selection through clinical development, to product launch and lifecycle management – please get in touch.

360° Tour

Take a look yourself

Discover our state-of-the-art facilities on a 360° tour, including our process research and development, material science, analytical, OEB-4 and NMR laboratories.

Process R&D Laboratory 1 (including Catalysis, Scale-Up and OEB-4 Laboratories) Process R&D Laboratory 2 (Process Design and Development Laboratory)
OEB-4 Laboratory 1
Material Science Laboratory
Analytical Laboratory
NMR Laboratory


Photography: Ben Gutierrez (Photoplan) & Gareth Tutton

Narration: Nadine Tayar

Video Interviews: Created by the CatSci team