Chemical compound archiving

A career in chemical compound archiving can give you a real sense of ownership and wide ranging influence.

If you've ever wondered what happens to all the compounds created in the early stages of drug development, you have the answer here. Compounds are archived from their initial registration and details of the scientists who worked on them, and the processes they went through, are carefully recorded according to strict industry regulations. Given the breadth of research, the fast pace of development and the length of time for which samples are stored (40 years is not exceptional), this is a massive logistical exercise.​

Highly sophisticated technology

The technology used to archive and retrieve the compounds is highly sophisticated and developing all the time. Current systems can typically bar code some 20,000 samples a day and storage systems are often capable of holding up to 6,000,000 chemical solids/solutions. Archivists have to ensure that the history of each sample is tracked and its integrity is maintained, so that it can be retrieved in any format, at any time, for further research, processing or inspection. It's vitally important work because, at any stage, these compounds could be used to achieve breakthroughs that could make a real difference to a company's success and patients' lives.

Working in chemical compound archiving

As this is a fast changing field, one of the most important requirements for anyone joining it is the ability to keep pace with progress. A degree in chemistry, biology or a related field should mean you're interested in the science and have the basic knowledge needed, but you must be just as keen to develop your understanding of automation and technology.

The way compounds are labelled, stored and retrieved is becoming increasingly advanced, so you'll need to take full advantage of the ongoing training offered in-house and by system suppliers. You'll be encouraged to put forward new ideas and take greater responsibility quickly.

Last modified: 20 October 2023

Last reviewed: 20 October 2023