Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Green Chemistry Synthesis of Fluorine-18 Radiopharmaceuticals

Technology #5996

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Peter J. H. Scott
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332

Researchers at the University of Michigan have applied the principles of green chemistry to develop a new method for the synthesis of fluorine-18 (18F) radiopharmaceuticals. 18F-labeled compounds such as fludeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) are primary markers used for medical imaging in oncology, neurology, and cardiology via positron emission tomography (PET). Synthesis of 18F compounds currently relies on organic solvents with intermediate toxicity to subjects and the environment. These solvents face increasing quality control (QC) standards and disposal regulations from government bodies that will incur more time and costs to manufacturer.

Green chemistry creates cheaper, safer synthesis

Inspired by green chemistry techniques, University of Michigan researchers sought to reduce the amount of intermediate toxicity organic solvents by relying on compatible low toxicity solvents in aqueous solution. The new synthesis procedures have demonstrated competitive radiochemical yields (RCY) to current standard procedures, with the additional benefits of reduced complexity and supply and quality control costs due to the use of fewer, safer solvents. The new synthesis will lower the cost of PET imaging scans and facilitate the development of devices that can automatically synthesize and QC fluorine-18 radiopharmaceuticals. Solvent quality control requirements can be reduced from daily analysis to quarterly or annual checks.


  • Global PET radiopharmaceutical synthesis
  • Radiopharmaceutical quality control kits and devices


  • Simplified production procedures
  • Fewer hazardous solvents to purchase, handle, and dispose of
  • Reduced quality control requirements from daily to quarterly
  • Lower staffing and material costs dedicated to synthesis and quality