Archived: Steroid Chemistry and Synthesis

Date: 21 July 2020

Steroids represent a large family of lipophilic natural products, endogenous to eukaryotic organisms, that play an essential role in regulation of a wide range of cellular function in animals, plants, and fungi. Their primary role in humans is to act as chemical messengers (hormones) that regulate metabolic, immune, and reproductive functions. The iconic 4 ring-fused steroidal scaffold, derived biologically from the metabolism of cholesterol, is a privileged motif that is present in many FDA-approved drugs. The steroid nucleus remains important in on-going drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology-  synthetic steroids being developed to target inflammation, allergic reactions, heart disease, cancer, and metabolic disease. Recent clinical data revealed the corticosteroid Dexamethasone to be the first drug shown to save lives in patients critically ill with COVID-19.

Steroid-based drugs are frequently obtained via semi-synthetic approaches from natural steroids obtained from plant and animal sources, however significant advancements in steroid synthesis have resulted in elegant synthetic strategies for their construction and for late stage stereoselective functionalization of the cycloalkane skeleton. This webinar gives an introduction to the main principles, biological activity and chemical synthesis of steroids, in particular focusing on the organic chemistry often referred to colloquially as “steroid chemistry”. As part of this discussion we explore the chemical process used to manufacture of Dexamethasone.

This webinar was presented by Dr John Studley, Scientific Update.

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