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EPSRC Grant for Organic Synthesis

Posted on 22 November 2016

York team wins EPSRC grant for developing new routes to 3-D fragments, scaffolds and pharmaceuticals.

Potential inputs and outputs from the project 

Professor Peter O’Brien and Dr Peter Karadakov, together with academic partner Professor Jacques Maddaluno (Rouen) and industrial partners AstraZeneca and YProTech, have been awarded a new Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) research grant. The grant is entitled “C–H Functionalisation of Cyclic Ethers: New Routes to 3-D Fragments, Scaffolds and Pharmaceuticals” and will support a post-doctoral researcher for 3.5 years.

This project will involve the development of novel organolithium methodology for the conversion of tetrahydrofurans, tetrahydropyrans and morpholines (inputs) into 3-D fragments, scaffolds and pharmaceuticals (outputs). Fitting squarely within the remit of the EPSRC “Dial-a-Molecule” Grand Challenge, it will be possible to dial-an-oxygen heterocycle at will via simple C-H functionalisations with high efficiency.

Optimisation of the new reactions will be underpinned by rigorous mechanistic studies including NMR-determined solution structures of organolithiums (collaboration with Professor Jacques Maddaluno, Rouen), in situ IR spectroscopic monitoring, kinetic studies and DFT computational modelling (to be carried out by Dr Peter Karadakov). The prevalance of tetrahydrofurans, tetrahydropyrans and morpholines in FDA-approved drugs means that the new methodology will be of direct relevance to the pharmaceutical industry. To facilitate the translation and impact of the new methods, the York team will work closely with two industrial project partners: AstraZeneca and YProTech.

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