Johnson Matthey supplies scavengers for impurity removal from reaction intermediates and final Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API's) to allow compliance with regulatory guidelines.

The use of Platinum Group Metal (PGM) and Base Metal (BM) catalysts continues to increase within the pharmaceutical industry, as they provide very efficient, fast routes for the synthesis of chiral and achiral compounds in the manufacture of API's. Common transformations include cross-coupling reactions using Palladium based catalysts and Ruthenium catalysed asymmetric hydrogenations.

Where metal catalysts have been used, the effective purification of API's from residual metal impurities is essential to comply with strict regulatory requirements as defined under ICH Q3D guidelines. For processes where the catalysts are used in the manufacture of potent API's (including the growing area of kinase inhibitors) there is an additional requirement for the scavenging to be carried out within a contained system.

With a proven history in metal scavenging for both standard and potent API manufacturing, we are ideally placed to offer optimised product solutions as well as engineering expertise to allow the products to be used by both R&D chemists and production teams alike.

Our products:

The table shows our core range of metal scavengers for purification and waste recovery in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. Our products are available on various support media: Silicas, Resins and Fibres. Please click on the product code for further technical and quote information.

Scavenger Media Functional group
QS-MP Silica Mercapto
QS-AP Silica Amine
QS-TA Silica Amine
QS-SA Silica Sulfonic acid
QP-TU Resin Thiourea
QP-BZA Resin Amine
QP-DMA Resin Amine
QP-SA Resin Sulfonic acid
QP-C Resin Carbon
S-234 Fibre Mercapto
S-112 Fibre Mercapto
S-111 Fibre Mercapto
S-105 Fibre Pyridine
S-102 Fibre Carboxylic acid
S-101 Fibre Sulfonic acid
S-301 Fibre Triphenylphosphine

Advanced scavenging for impurity removal gives the customer:
  • Technical Solutions; Superior performance, advanced engineering, full containment of products, scale up assistance
  • Compliance and peace of mind; Understanding of regulatory requirements and full data packs offered
  • Simplicity; Scavenging solutions uniquely tailored for each individual customer, whether treated in batch, column, for purification or waste treatment
  • Process Compatible; Remove impurities from highly potent streams using the Sealed Flow Cartridge System
In this Section:
Core technology

The core functionalities of our advanced product range specialise in sulphur chemistry due to its high affinity for Palladium as a product of cross-coupling catalytic reactions. For purification applications, the mode of action is one of chelation to ensure that the bond between the scavenger and the Palladium remains strong and the metal is retained on the solid support.

Within the core range, products are available based on: Silicas, Fibres, Resins and Silica Polymer Composites.


The Quality of our products is paramount, especially where scavengers are being used within the API manufacturing process. Alongside Drug Master Files and Regulatory Support Files, which are available for review by our customers, programs of work have been undertaken, and continue to be run, with respect to potential extractables from the scavenger. Analytical data is available and we are happy to discuss individual requirements to ensure the continued safe use of our products.

All of our products are supplied with the following as standard: Certificates of Analysis, Batch References, MSDS's and BSE/TSE Statements

Technical and Engineering Services

Johnson Matthey understands the importance of supplying not just a product, but providing a range of services to the pharmaceutical industry to deliver optimal performance and easy implementation of the scavengers. These service offerings include:

Screening services:

  • Determination of target scavenger
  • Optimisation of scavenging route
  • Analytical services for metal analysis down to 1ppm

FTE screening programmes run in collaboration with Johnson Matthey Pharma Services are completed at our state of the art pharmaceutical R&D laboratories. They are equipped to deal with the safe and efficient handling of process streams whether they contain low risk hazards or are high risk potent API's. Following an initial evaluation of the stream and selected scavengers, the route is optimised taking into account customers' requirements/restrictions on plant.

Process design and engineering, including:

  • Understanding of process parameters
  • Use of the Johnson Matthey designed cartridge – the Sealed FlowCartridge System

Screening is always completed with a full understanding of the end customer requirement, be it at lab or plant scale. Scavengers are selected, and processes are designed, following a process review and an understanding of the mode in which they will be applied.

Where required, the Sealed Flow Cartridge System provides a fully scalable system (from 200g to 20kg scale wrt scavenger), specifically designed for use with Johnson Matthey scavengers. The system is already utilised at large scale for metal removal from a potent compound with a large pharmaceutical company.

Metal scavenger sample kits

Johnson Matthey has a new metal scavenging kit available, ThioSep. This scavenger kit has been tailored to target the growing requirement for Palladium removal during API manufacturing. Palladium is commonly used in metal hydrogenations and coupling reactions such as Suzuki, Sonogashira and Buchwald-Hartwig, therefore the kit focusses on sulphur chemistry due to its' proven ability to complex with Palladium. The selected scavengers are also suitable to remove other platinum group and base metal residues.

The ThioSep kit comprises of 6 x 10g samples:

  • R&D scale kit based on silicas, bead resins and fibres
  • Pharmaceutical grade products to allow optimal metal removal from any environment
  • Scavengers are available to purchase from small scale to bulk manufacturing
  • Full screening instructions (with additional quick guide encased in the kit)
  • Supporting quality package available, including data about extractables
  • Free shipping
  • To order a sample kit or for more information please contact our applications team.

    Metal recovery from waste streams

    Due to the high value of platinum group metals, there is frequently a need to recover the metal in order to realise its value or use the refined metal in the manufacture of fresh catalyst. It is common for pharmaceutical companies to send their waste for treatment at waste management companies and it is often preferable to continue in this way. In other cases, treatment on the customer site retains control and is included in their process. With this in mind, Johnson Matthey can offer 2 options for metal recovery from waste streams:

    • Supply of scavengers and technical expertise, with customer treating the waste in–house
      • Assistance with screening to determine correct scavenger and scale-up in preparation for transfer to plant
    • Johnson Matthey manages the metal recovery at waste treatment site
      • Waste is treated by a Johnson Matthey scavenging team prior to incineration/solvent recovery.

    In both scenarios once scavenging is completed, used scavenger is returned to Johnson Matthey for refining.

    Key benefits to the customer are:

    • One supplier for purchasing of scavengers, refining of metal and supply of fresh catalyst
    • Simplified treatment options based on the customer's needs
    • Metal value return