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Solid-Phase Synthesis of Phosphorothioate Oligonucleotides Using Sulfurization Byproducts for in Situ Capping

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journal contribution
posted on 04.09.2018, 00:00 by Jimin Yang, Jessica A. Stolee, Hong Jiang, Li Xiao, William F. Kiesman, Firoz D. Antia, Yannick A. Fillon, Austen Ng, Xianglin Shi
Oligonucleotides containing phosphorothioate (PS) linkages have recently demonstrated significant clinical utility. PS oligonucleotides are manufactured via a solid-phase chain elongation process in which a four-reaction cycle consisting of detritylation, coupling, sulfurization, and failure sequence capping with Ac2O is repeated. In the capping step, uncoupled sequences are acetylated at the 5′–OH to stop the chain growth and control the levels of deletion, or (n–1), impurities. Herein, we report that the byproducts of commonly used sulfurization reagents react with the 5′–OH and cap the failure sequences. The standard Ac2O capping step can therefore be eliminated, and this 3-reaction cycle process affords a higher yield and higher or comparable overall purity compared to the conventional 4-reaction synthesis. This improvement results in reducing the number of reactions from ∼80 to ∼60 for the synthesis of a typical length 20-mer oligonucleotide. For every kilogram of an oligonucleotide intermediate synthesized, > 500 L of reagents and organic solvents is saved, and the E-factor is decreased to <1500 from ∼2000.