The pilot plant allows chemists to make compounds on a larger scale than in the laboratory, up to 100kg per batch. The products are used for research studies and trials; medicines for sale would be made on a much larger scale in a manufacturing plant.
The types of studies that the chemicals would be used for include pharmacy research into whether the material can be made into tablets, capsules, or is suitable for other methods of delivery such as inhalers. These may be used in early clinical trials in volunteers or patients with the disease the potential new medicine is designed to treat. The chemicals may also be used for animal studies to test that the potential medicine is safe; these tests are required by law before any potential medicine can be given to humans.
Because the chemicals are made on a much larger scale than in the laboratory, and often hazardous organic solvents are used, risk assessments must be carried out before any chemical reaction is done to minimise the hazards and ensure safe working.