Wow, real life really kicked my ass there. I'll try and post a couple of things a month again from now on. Thanks for still reading! —BRSM
An Enantiospecific Synthesis of Jiadifenolide
Given the massive number of people affected worldwide by neurodegenerative diseases and nerve injuries, it's not surprising that a number of synthetic groups have chosen to focus their research programs on neurotrophic natural products. Of course, it's probably coincidence that aside from their potential uses to society, a number of these compounds seem to also be structurally unique and strikingly intricate molecules. One such example is jiadifenolide, whose dense, caged seco-prezizaane-type structure has already seen 3 total syntheses since its isolation five years ago.
Now, there’s a saying in the field that a synthesis should strive to either be the first, or be the best (or sometimes "last", because no-one else will be able to do a better job). At any rate, it's certainly true that when a target's been made more than a couple of times, those are certainly the ones that people are more likely to remember. In this case, the impressive first synthesis of the target was achieved by Theodorakis and coworkers at UC San Diego back in 2011, but at 25 steps and 1.5% overall yield, it appeared that some in the community felt that the title of "last" was still very much in contention. Indeed, with syntheses from the Sorensen and Dalby/Paterson groups in the last few months, it seems that interest in the jiadifenolide problem is still strong.
I'd initially planned to write about the most recent 2 (or possibly all 3) syntheses in an epic all-in-one comparison blog-post, but in the interests of keeping these musings short and somewhat readable I've decided to break things down a bit. This week's installment will cover Sorenson's awesome synthesis from back in April.