Scripps team finds path to synthesizing natural compounds

A research team at Scripps Research Institute has discovered a simpler, less expensive method for producing synthetic versions of naturally-occurring compounds. Scripps researcher Phil Baran and a couple of graduate students at Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology say they were able to eliminate a step in the process. By making it possible to produce these compounds less expensively, they say that a number of new drugs could be much more feasible to make. And that would allow for commercialization of active ingredients found in marine and terrestrial organisms.

Their work points the way to avoiding reliance on "protecting groups," which are extra compounds chemists use to shield reactive portions of a molecule during specific stages of a synthesis scheme. The protecting groups are eventually cleaved chemically to expose the reactive portion during later chemical reactions to complete a product's synthesis. Each protecting group used adds at least two steps to a synthesis, and the groups themselves have reactivity of their own that must be controlled to prevent adverse reactions. To avoid the need for protecting groups, the Baran group took an unorthodox approach. Rather than assume that reactive portions of a molecule had to be shielded during various syntheses, the researchers calculated ways to use such reactivity in an overall scheme to produce the desired final product.

- here's the release for more information
- read the report on the Scripps' research from Tech Journal South

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