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Kinetic Resolution of Racemic α-Arylalkanoic Acids with Achiral Alcohols via the Asymmetric Esterification Using Carboxylic Anhydrides and Acyl-Transfer Catalysts

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journal contribution
posted on 25.08.2010, 00:00 by Isamu Shiina, Kenya Nakata, Keisuke Ono, Yu-suke Onda, Makoto Itagaki
A variety of optically active carboxylic esters are produced by the kinetic resolution of racemic α-substituted carboxylic acids using achiral alcohols, aromatic or aliphatic carboxylic anhydrides, and chiral acyl-transfer catalysts. The combination of 4-methoxybenzoic anhydride (PMBA) or pivalic anhydride with the modified benzotetramisole-type catalyst ((S)-β-Np-BTM) is the most effective for promotion of the enantioselective coupling reaction between racemic carboxylic acids and a novel nucleophile, bis(α-naphthyl)methanol, to give the corresponding esters with high ee’s. This protocol was successfully applied to the production of nonracemic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs from racemic compounds utilizing the transacylation process to generate the mixed anhydrides from the acid components with the suitable carboxylic anhydrides.