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Vaska’s complex- Reagent of the month

Iridium is ubiquitous in organic synthesis. In the last decade alone we have seen its impact as a phtoredox catalyst for a wide range of light-driven reactions that are difficult to achieve using traditional synthetic methods.1 In addition, iridium has rich utility in C-H activation chemistry- a recent review by Cramer highlighting chiral complexes as

Iridium catalysed C-H borylation of alkyl C-H bonds

Two recent papers in Science have described Iridium catalysed C-H borylation of alkyl C-H bonds. The first paper1 reports a C-H borylation of primary C-H bonds.  Initial experiments showed that dibutyl ether (used as substrate and solvent) could be converted to BuO(CH2)4Bpin and similarly THF could be borylated in the 3-position with 2-methylphenanthroline (2-mphen) as

Designing Crystallisation Processes

Three recent papers from the groups of Nagy and Qu have discussed different options for designing and scaling up crystallisation processes to achieve polymorph control and obtain the correct particle size distribution (PSD). The first two papers1,2 describe using PAT (online analysis) with feedback control to design an antisolvent crystallisation process for indomethacin.  Each paper

Call for Papers | Celebrating Women in Process Chemistry

In an effort to support and highlight the outstanding contributions of Women in Process Chemistry, the journal Organic Process Research & Development has decided to publish a Special Issue that will aim to highlight a select collection of papers from Women in the field of Process Chemistry. As a co-editor for this Special Topic Issue,

In full flow-continuously battling bacteria with boron

Increasing multidrug resistance to antimicrobial agents, particularly in Gram-negative bacteria, is a significant global healthcare challenge. Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) has been declared as one of the most urgent drug-resistant threats in the United States. Much like the cephalosporin B-lactams in the 1980’s, heavy clinical reliance on carbapenem b-lactam antibiotics over the past few decades has

Breaking up is hard to do

As synthetic chemists we are very familiar with making chemical bonds, particularly C-C bonds, and building complex molecules. Having said that, fundamentally, with sufficient energy and entropy in the driving seat, it should be quicker and easier to break molecules apart. Deconstructive processes are not, however, as common as one might think- particularly cleavage of

Favipiravir and the battle against COVID-19

Whilst I was working towards my PhD in the early 90’s I remember reading ‘The Hot Zone’ by Richard Preston.1 Although non-fiction it read very much like a Michael Critchton2 thriller- describing the emergence and spread of viral hemorrhagic fevers and filoviruses such as Ebola and Marburg. Viruses such as Ebola are somewhat self-limiting in that the

Engineering life into new chemical transformations

Nature has had many generations to optimise its catalytic processes. As a result they are both extremely efficient and exquisitely selective. Biocatalysis is now very much a mainstay of industrial organic synthesis, particularly with the advent of protein engineering and directed evolution enabling the preparation of robust enzymes fine-tuned to a particular substrate. The importance

Syn-3-Fluoro-4-aminopiperidine- a story from multiple orientations

If Nature could re-write her proteinogenic amino acid instruction manual I’m fairly sure that a piperidine ring would feature in there somewhere. Perhaps in the spirit of less is more the pyrrolidine ring won out. Not so for human synthetic engineers- the piperidine ring is ubiquitous in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and advanced materials and is the

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