Synfacts 2019; 15(07): 0793
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1689891
Organo- and Biocatalysis
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Phthalidyl Ester Prodrugs by Catalytic Asymmetric Acetalization of Carboxylic Acids

Benjamin List
Diana Danielsson
Liu Y, Chen Q, Mou C, Pan L. * Duan X, Chen X, Chen H, Zhao Y, Lu Y, Jin Z, Chi YR. * Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Guiyang University of Chinese Medicine and Guizhou University, Guiyang, P. R. of China
Catalytic Asymmetric Acetalization of Carboxylic Acids for Access to Chiral Phthalidyl Ester Prodrugs.

Nat. Commun. 2019;
10: 1675
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 June 2019 (online)



The authors report an NHC-catalyzed asymmetric acetalization of carboxylic acids that provides efficient access to chiral phthalidyl ­ester prodrugs. Phthalidyl esters are conventionally prepared by treating carboxylic acids with 3-bromophthalides, but this standard approach exhibits poor stereoselective control over the newly created chiral center.



Interestingly, higher average enantio­selectivities were obtained with aliphatic acid substrates than with aromatic acid substrates. However, stronger acids such as trifluoroacetic acid proved to be poor substrates for this transformation due to the lower nucleophilicities of their corresponding anions and the poor stabilities of the subsequent reaction intermediates.