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Europe | Chemistry

Fast Radio-Labeling and Isotope Exchange


In the FastLabEx project, Davide Audisio will imagine and design a faster, less expensive and less polluting process for marking molecules during the preclinical and clinical testing phases (drug candidates), or in the environment (pesticides for example). The aim is to ensure that the marking is the last step of the process, by cutting the very strong bonds with the 12C with extremely efficient catalysts, which are replaced by the 14C.  

european Funding: European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant

Call ERC-2019-COG

Published on 20 January 2020


The impact of synthetic organic molecules on health, life quality and lifestyle is beyond doubt. It is therefore of fundamental importance to detect and quantify the fate of organic compounds and provide a precise risk/benefit assessment, before they reach the market and large public exposure.

The traceless incorporation of carbon-14 allows tracking organic molecules and provides vital knowledge on their fate. This information is critical for pharmaceutical development, crop science and human food safety evaluation. Surprisingly, carbon radiolabeling still represents a bottleneck and an unsolved fundamental problem. In fact, current synthetic strategies are marred by several major drawbacks, including the generation of radioactive waste, being multi-step time-consuming and high resource-demanding.

To circumvent such disadvantages, Davide Audisio (Laboratoire de Marquage au Carbone 14 - Service de Chimie Bioorganique et de Marquage) presents FASTLabEx, a novel approach for the straightforward preparation of carbon-labeled complex organic molecules that introduces the radioactive tag at the ultimate-stage of the synthesis. Inspired by efficient metal-catalyzed transformations, FASTLabEx makes use of a novel paradigm of "carbon isotope exchange", defined as the selective replacement of molecular moieties into organic molecules, by reversible molecular deconstruction/reconstruction in presence of an appropriate radiolabeled moiety. FASTLabEx will explore this concept onto a large variety of functional groups and structural diversity, far beyond the case of carboxylic acids. This approach has the potential to streamline the radio-synthesis of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Outcomes from FASTLabEx will have a tangible societal impact not only for the radiochemical community, but also for pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries and in fine the consumers and patients. In order to mitigate the risks inherent to the project, preliminary results demonstrate its feasibility.

Project duration

5 years

1,9 millions €

​Number of partners


Start date​

October 01, 2020

RESEARCHER : Davide Audisio

Contact : 

Agreement number


The Starting Grants and Consolidator Grants aim to support talented, leading or emerging researchers who wish to establish their own research team and conduct independent research in Europe. This grant targets promising researchers who have demonstrated their potential to become independent research leaders. It supports the creation of new research teams of excellence.

These grants are intended for researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years (Starting Grants) or 7-12 years (Consolidator Grants) of experience since obtaining their PhD (or equivalent degree) with a very promising scientific track record.