When a chemical you need is not available, you can go and synthesize it. Someone that works on a completely different project in a totally different field of science (perhaps even on a different continent) will need this chemical in two or three months, or maybe a year. He too will synthesize this compound. And because your work is not yet published, he will have to (re)invent the synthesis. And perhaps yet others will repeat the work. Each such synthesis takes time and, when all costs (your salary, instrument time, reagents, lab space costs) are included, expenses can add up quickly. For this reason, it is not uncommon before synthesis to look up in scientific literature if anyone has already made a compound or if it may be possible to get a small sample from another lab. Molport has organized custom synthesis of the same compound for different clients just a few weeks apart. Is this a rare occurrence? Yes. But what if users would be more open to outsource synthesis?
Sometimes it is better to give your synthesis job to a professional. Just let someone who has made similar compounds synthesize your compounds while you do other experiments (And finish your project sooner! What would your boss say about that?). It often doesn’t cost much more to make 3 grams instead of the 1 gram you need. Unless your project is confidential, a synthesis company will make a larger quantity of the new compound. This has two benefits:
- Other scientists looking for this new compound will be able to order it easily. Their projects will go faster. And because synthesis costs are often similar regardless of quantity, if there are more buyers, you all will get it cheaper.
- Some nice folks in the synthesis company will have a job.