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Chiral Building Blocks via Biocatalytic Methods

Chiral substrates have attracted growing interest as important intermediates for catalysts, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals and, in line with this trend, an increase in the sales volume for chiral technologies from .7 billion (2003) to billion in 2009 is forecasted by Frost & Sullivan (1). In principle, optically active compounds can be obtained by a number of different methods. In some cases, the chiral pool can provide simple and cost-effective access from natural sources.

However, the substrate spectrum is quite limited. Synthetic intermediates are often obtained as racemic mixtures. The resolution of racemates is an additional method for the synthesis of optically active molecules. On the downside, this process is often costly and time-consuming. More efficient procedures apply asymmetric catalytic systems for the synthesis of optically active intermediates. Catalysts used in these reactions can be subdivided in chemical and biological catalysts. A wide variety of chemical catalysts have been developed over the past decades. In 2001, Knowles, Noyori and Sharpless were honoured with the Nobel Prize for the development of analogous asymmetric catalysts. Nevertheless, a major drawback for these catalysts is the need of heavy metal cations as well as multi-step synthesis.

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By Dr Thomas C Rosen, Sales and Marketing Manager, and Dr Thomas Daußmann, Managing Director at Jülich Fine Chemicals

Dr Thomas C Rosen obtained an MSc at the University of Toledo, USA in 1999 and a PhD at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, in the group of Professor Haufe in 2003. He now works at Jülich Fine Chemicals GmbH in the position of Sales and Marketing Manager. Dr Rosen contributes regularly to many publications.

Dr Thomas Daußmann obtained a PhD at the Research Centre, Jülich, in 1997. In the same year he became Manager of R&D at Jülich Fine Chemicals GmbH, before advancing to Managing Director in 1999. He has contributed to many publications.
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Thomas C Rosen
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Thomas Daußmann
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