A series of highly substituted tetrahydrofurans (THFs), decorated with modifiable 2-aryl, 3-carboxy and 4-amino substituents, has been prepared for biological evaluation within the European Lead Factory. Diastereoselective reductive amination of pre-functionalised 4-oxofurans, readily prepared from cinnamate esters via oxa-Michael/Dieckmann annulation, provided the requisite THF cores on gram scale with three contiguous stereocentres, including full substitution at C-3. In a second series, a pyrrolidine ring was fused to the same oxofuran scaffold via an intramolecular reductive amination, inverting the configuration at C-4 relative to the other ring substituents. The resulting compounds, which displayed desirable physical properties as lead-like scaffolds, were derivatised into a small library of 24 compounds, demonstrating their ability to serve as starting points for drug discovery. Ultimately, this chemistry enabled the preparation of 1948 THF-containing compounds for inclusion in the Joint European Compound Library.
- drug discovery
- lead-oriented synthesis