A new chemical reaction called 'metallacycle-mediated cross-coupling' created by chemists at Dartmouth College, United States, has the potential to facilitate the search for pharmaceutical drugs.
Organic synthesis is a scientific discipline central to the drug discovery process that is focused on building new carbon-based molecules that can affect biology, for example, targeting and destroying cancer cells.
In the study, the Dartmouth College authors describe a new chemical reaction that converts simple starting materials into architecturally complex molecules called "decalins" in a single step. Decalins are carbon-based compounds containing two hexagon rings.
Co-author Glenn Micalizio said that the findings are noteworthy not only because this chemical reaction simplifies the laboratory preparation of such species, but also because our study reveals a unique mode of reactivity associated with metal-carbon bonds that are embedded in complex carbon-based structures.
Micalizio noted that general species of the type studied here have previously been thought to be fleeting intermediates whose reactivity was difficult to control, adding that an important part of this paper demonstrates our ability to reveal new reactivity patterns of these species, prompting them to engage in highly selective chemical transformations.
This latest finding provides a concise and direct synthesis pathway that, due to the structure of the products delivered, will likely be quite valuable for the discovery and development of therapeutic agents, added Micalizio.
The findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.