Clarke Group’s spirotastic success

Posted on 16 June 2017

York chemists have devised a simple two-step route to molecules important in drug discovery.

A new two-step process for the synthesis of 2-spiropiperidines

The Clarke group, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, has developed a simple two-step process for the synthesis of 2-spiropiperidines. The 2-spiropiperidine scaffold possesses the highly desirable three-dimensional chemical structure, and can easily be converted into a multitude of lead-like molecules desired in drug discovery programmes. This work was carried out by PhD student Sam Griggs, an undergraduate BSc research project student, Nathan Thompson, and an ERASMUS exchange student, Marie Fabre. 

Previously, the discovery of new pharmaceutical agents relied upon the synthesis of small lead-molecules, which can be elaborated into potential drug candidates. In order to discover new classes of pharmaceuticals there is a desire by medicinal chemists to explore new types of lead-molecules, which are more three-dimensional than the traditional lead-like structures. Unfortunately, the investigation of these molecules was hindered by the difficulty in synthesising them.

Notes to editors:

A Two-Step Synthesis of 2-Spiropiperidines is published in Chemistry – A European Journal. To read, visit