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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S013172/1
Title: New Directions in Bioisostere Research
Principal Investigator: Anderson, Professor EA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Boehringer Ingelheim (International) Pfizer
Department: Oxford Chemistry
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2018 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 572,768
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Biology
Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jul 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The development of new drug candidates relies on a number of factors - not only the bioactivity of the molecule in question, but also properties such as its solubility, its ability to permeate cell membranes, and its susceptibility to metabolism by the body. Compounds containing benzene rings, as are common in many pharmaceuticals, can display problems in all these areas.

One solution is to replace such problematic motifs with a chemical group that has the same size (and positions its substituents in the same way), but avoids these pharmacology issues. These groups are termed 'bioisosteres', and in this project, we seek to develop new approaches to 'bicyclopentanes', a functional group that is a bioisostere for benzene rings. In previous work by medicinal chemists, the bicyclopentane has proven to be an efficient substitute for benzene in medicinal chemistry settings, and as such there is a high level of interest in this field in the use of this functionality.

While some approaches to these molecules are known, the methods used are generally rather harsh, and limited in scope. In this project, we will develop a number of new methodologies to access this important motif, mainly based around contemporary uses of free radical chemistry, which operate under very mild conditions and therefore are able to tolerate the kinds of chemical groups that are found in drug molecules. Our work will also include first-of-kind examples of asymmetric bicyclopentane synthesis, and demonstrations of the technology by application to real-life drug molecules. Finally, we will spend a proportion of the project time on developing scalable routes for bicyclopentane synthesis, with a view to commercialisation of some of the most useful building blocks, which will enhance the uptake of our work by end-users in the wider scientific community.

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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk