Significant portions of important molecules involved in the biochemistry of life have "handedness," i.e. they are primarily found in one nonsuperimposible mirror image form. Additionally, the majority of drugs and drug candidates also have handedness (chirality) and all stereoisomers of these compounds are normally synthesized and evaluated for biological activity. Due to the chirality of nature, the mirror image forms of drug candidates can have vastly differing biological effects. One approach to the synthesis of chiral molecules that is growing steadily in usage is the application of versatile, stereoselective catalytic methodology in key steps where stereocontrol is required. Organocatalysis, the use of small organic (non-metal based) molecules as catalysts is an attractive alternative to traditional metal-based catalysis. This approach has found a number of recent successes and the continued evaluation of organocatalytic-based chemistry is clearly a worthwhile endeavor. Since 2004 the use of chiral phosphoric acid-based organocatalysis has been shown to provide for excellent stereoselectivity in a growing number of reactions. Our efforts have been involved in the development of new methodology where chiral phosphoric acids can be applied stereoselectively.
The specific aims of this proposal are divided into the design, analysis, and refinement of a number of new reactions whereby chiral phosphoric acids can be efficient, stereoselective catalysts. The potential health-related utility of the newly created chiral products are also described in each new reaction study.
The chemistry described in this proposal addresses a fundamental, important aspect of modern synthesis -- the control of three-dimensional (3-D) chemical structure. The vast majority of the "molecules of life" and most pharmaceutical drugs have specific 3-D structure that must be controlled for efficient, low cost synthesis. Therefore methods that allow for this control are very important for public health.
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