Scientists Use Computational Modeling to Guide Difficult Chemical Synthesis of Azetidines

Using this new approach, researchers could develop drug compounds with unique pharmaceutical properties.


Researchers from MIT and the University of Michigan have discovered a new way to drive chemical reactions that could generate a wide variety of compounds with desirable pharmaceutical properties. These compounds, known as azetidines, are characterized by four-membered rings that include nitrogen. Azetidines have traditionally been much more difficult to synthesize than five-membered nitrogen-containing rings, which are found in many FDA-approved drugs. The reaction that the researchers used to create azetidines is driven by a photocatalyst that excites the molecules from their ground energy state. Using computational models that they developed, the researchers were able to predict compounds that can react with each other to form azetidines using this kind of catalysis.

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