March 25, 2013
Tapping proton power for enantioselective synthesis

A simple proton is the key to a novel approach by US-based chemists to synthesise chiral amines and alcohols – a structural motif common to many organic molecules with pharmaceutical promise. The proton is at the heart of a potent organocatalyst designed by Amir Hoveyda and his colleagues at Boston College to generate these compounds with high enantioselectivity. The simple, robust catalyst offers a highly practical approach for synthesising many complex, chiral organic compounds.

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A central proton binds the imine, catalyst and boronate together

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