IBC's world headquarters is near Salt Lake City, in American Fork, Utah, USA. The facilities house production as well as full analytical, organic, and inorganic chemistry laboratories. IBC develops advanced chemical process technology that often involves complex, multi-step chemical reactions. IBC has special expertise for improving traditional chemical synthesis pathways. Products can thus be manufactured at reasonable costs enabling their widespread use in industry.
IBC has commercialized separations systems throughout the world. A very large portion of the world's palladium, a critical component in autocatalysts and other industrial processes, is refined using MRT. In the fall of 1997, an MRT system was commissioned to extract and refine Impala's entire annual output of palladium, which is listed as 550,000 oz. Pd (see Publications, Traczyk, et. al.). Impala Platinum Ltd., South Africa, is the world's second largest miner and refiner of platinum group metals.
In another commercial installation, a Japanese customer, Tanaka Kinkinzoku Kogyo, is using IBC's products to purify precious metals in what is believed to be the world's largest catalytic converter recycling process (see publications, Ichiishi et. al., 2000). The efficient recycling of precious metals and other metals reduces the need for mining and additional processing steps that consume excess energy and pollute the environment.
IBC's products can also be used commercially to recover less valuable metals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, molybdenum, and copper or to extract impurities, such as iron, lead, mercury, and chloride that adversely impact product quality or the environment.
In another application, IBC's separations technology is used to analyze radionuclides. The environmental consequences of radionuclides can be grave. They can enter the food chain and contaminate water, milk or other nutrients. With its partner, 3M, IBC has commercialized a way to dramatically reduce the time required to analyze radionuclides such as strontium and radium (i.e., day(s) to less than 20 minutes).
MRT as developed by IBC is applicable to some of the most critical commercial challenges facing the world today. The October 1998 announcement of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Advanced Technology Program's (ATP) third cooperative award with IBC explained that, if successfully developed and commercialized, the research jointly funded by IBC and the U.S. government, could decrease the cost of producing an important drug class that shows great promise for combating many diseases including AIDS, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. "The resulting increases in sales of low-cost therapeutics, gene-based diagnostic systems, and purification technology are expected to be worth $4 billion to the U.S. economy over the next ten years," stated the announcement.
The trade press has lauded IBC's development efforts. Commenting on IBC's second ATP award, Genetic Engineering News stated that IBC "is exploiting one of the hottest areas of chemistry - a general process for producing optically-pure drugs and chemicals." ("Molecular Magnet Technology Produces Optically Pure Drugs and Chemicals", Genetic Engineering News, October 15, 1996, p.7).
IBC's products and processes are based on using chemicals which bind, or complex, with target ions and molecules. The target can then be separated, detected, catalytically activated, transported or otherwise used in industrial, analytical or life sciences applications. Relying on a principle called molecular recognition, or 'host/guest' chemistry, chemical compounds (hosts) are designed to have highly preferential recognition for target molecules (guests) and to bind them. The 1987 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to the founding fathers of host/guest or supramolecular chemistry, Charles Pederson, Donald Cram, and Jean-Marie Lehn.
IBC's products are remarkable for their ease of use, high efficiencies, and economic advantages.