Asymmetric Formal Synthesis of (+)-Catharanthine via Desymmetrization of Isoquinuclidine

Although (+)-catharanthine is an attractive alkaloid for both clinical research and organic synthetic chemistry, only a limited number of approaches for its catalytic asymmetric synthesis exist. Herein, we describe a novel strategy for synthesizing a chiral intermediate of (+)-catharanthine via phosphoric acid-catalyzed asymmetric desymmetrization of a meso-isoquinuclidine possessing a 1,3-diol unit that was synthesized by a formal amide insertion reaction.