Joint Centers of Excellence Program

Nanoporous Coordination Polymer Scaffolds for Organo-Catalysts (Domain 5, Project 1)

Chiral, non-racemic small molecules play an increasingly important role in the search for more active and targeted pharmaceuticals. Small variations in the chemival topography can have a profound effect of the efficacy, bio-availability, and toxicity of small molecule drug candidates. Preparation of these highly effective enantiopure molecules could present a significant production problem to the pharmaceutical industry. An emerging strategy to install stereogenic centers is to use organocatalysts. These methods avoid the use of expensive metal catalysts or wasteful resolution processes and can be used to achieve a number of pharmaceutically relevant transformations with high yields and enantioselectivities. This approach represents a truly general, selective, and practical methods for discovery chemistry, however, the all organic nature of these catalysts make them difficult to separate from the desired products and a new technology is required to render these methods viable on a process scale. In this collaboration with KACST, we propose to utilize known nanoporous coordination polymers (NCPs) in conjunction with known organocatalysts to make novel catalytic materials, organocatalytic NCPs (OC-NCPs), with key properties including: (i) the ability to be easily recovered from the reaction mixture, (ii) high stability to a range of reaction and environmental conditions, (iii) high catalytic activity and product selectivity, and (iv) the ability to be repeatedly recycled with no diminishment of reactivity. The goal of this project is the development of next-generation recyclable organocatalysts that will be used to produce valuable small molecules with excellent yields and selectivities.