ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Synthesis

New Total Synthesis Of Key Antimalaria Agent

Cascade-reaction approach could lead to affordable, fully synthetic artemisinin

by Stu Borman
August 20, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 34

A new total synthesis provides a blueprint for producing the malaria drug (+)-artemisinin more affordably (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja3061479). Artemisinin is the most effective drug for malaria, which kills up to 1 million people each year. Currently produced from the wormwood plant, artemisinin is too expensive and its supply too variable to meet world needs consistently. A semisynthetic process that starts with a precursor made in microbes is being developed, but total synthesis has not been considered a viable route because of the molecular complexity of artemisinin. Now, Chunyin Zhu and Silas P. Cook at Indiana University, Bloomington, have used a series of cascade reactions to produce artemisinin on a gram scale from cyclohexenone. The synthesis can be conducted in a five-pot sequence that is more efficient than any previous total synthesis. “All of the building blocks needed for this synthesis are exceptionally cheap and available on a metric-ton scale,” Cook says. “Is this chemistry ready for supplying the world with artemisinin? No. But with some further reaction engineering, it very well could be.”

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment