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  1. Abstract

    Over the last 20 years, N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) have emerged as a dominant direction in ligand development in transition metal catalysis. In particular, strong σ-donation in combination with tunable steric environment make NHCs to be among the most common ligands used for C–C and C–heteroatom bond formation. Herein, we report the study on steric and electronic properties of thiazol-2-ylidenes. We demonstrate that the thiazole heterocycle and enhanced π-electrophilicity result in a class of highly active carbene ligands for electrophilic cyclization reactions to form valuable oxazoline heterocycles. The evaluation of steric, electron-donating and π-accepting properties as well as structural characterization and coordination chemistry is presented. This mode of catalysis can be applied to late-stage drug functionalization to furnish attractive building blocks for medicinal chemistry. Considering the key role of N-heterocyclic ligands, we anticipate thatN-aryl thiazol-2-ylidenes will be of broad interest as ligands in modern chemical synthesis.

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  2. Abstract

    Total synthesis is considered by many as the finest combination of art and science. During the last decades, several concepts were proposed for achieving the perfect vision of total synthesis, such as atom economy, step economy, or redox economy. In this context, C−H functionalization represents the most powerful platform that has emerged in the last years, empowering rapid synthesis of complex natural products and enabling diversification of bioactive scaffolds based on natural product architectures. In this review, we present an overview of the recent strategies towards the total synthesis of heterocyclic natural products enabled by C−H functionalization. Heterocycles represent the most common motifs in drug discovery and marketed drugs. The implementation of C−H functionalization of heterocycles enables novel tactics in the construction of core architectures, but also changes the logic design of retrosynthetic strategies and permits access to natural product scaffolds with novel and enhanced biological activities.

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  3. Abstract

    The challenging transamidation of unactivated tertiary amides has been accomplished via cooperative acid/iodide catalysis. Most crucially, the method provides a novel manifold to re‐route the reactivity of unactivated N,N‐dialkyl amides through reactive acyl iodide intermediates, thus reverting the classical order of reactivity of carboxylic acid derivatives. This method provides a direct route to amide‐to‐amide bond interconversion with excellent chemoselectivity using equivalent amounts of amines. The combination of acid and iodide has been identified as the essential factor to activate the amide C−N bond through electrophilic catalytic activation, enabling the production of new desired transamidated products with wide substrate scope of both unactivated amides and amines, including late‐stage functionalization of complex APIs (>80 examples). We anticipate that this powerful activation mode of unactivated amide bonds will find broad‐ranging applications in chemical synthesis.

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  4. Abstract

    Aryl thioethers are tremendously important motifs in various facets of chemical science. Traditional technologies for the precise assembly of aryl thioethers rely on transition‐metal‐catalyzed cross‐coupling of aryl halides; however, despite the continuous advances, the scope of these methods remains limited. Recently a series of reports has advanced an alternative manifold in which thio(esters) are subject to transition‐metal‐catalyzed decarbonylation, which (1) permits to exploit ubiquitous carboxylic acids as highly desirable and orthogonal precursors to aryl halides; (2) overcomes the issues of high concentration of thiolate anion leading to catalyst poisoning; (3) enables for novel disconnections not easily available from aryl halides; and (4) introduces new concepts in catalysis.

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  5. Abstract

    Thioamides represent highly valuable isosteric in the strictest sense “single‐atom substitution” analogues of amides that have found broad applications in chemistry and biology. A long‐standing challenge is the direct transamidation of thioamides, a process which would convert one thioamide bond (R−C(S)−NR1R2) into another (R−C(S)−NR3N4). Herein, we report the first general method for the direct transamidation of thioamides by highly chemoselective N−C(S) transacylation. The method relies on site‐selective N‐tert‐butoxycarbonyl activation of 2° and 1° thioamides, resulting in ground‐state‐destabilization of thioamides, thus enabling to rationally manipulate nucleophilic addition to the thioamide bond. This method showcases a remarkably broad scope including late‐stage functionalization (>100 examples). We further present extensive DFT studies that provide insight into the chemoselectivity and provide guidelines for the development of transamidation methods of the thioamide bond.

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  6. Abstract

    Although cross‐coupling reactions of amides by selective N−C cleavage are one of the most powerful and burgeoning areas in organic synthesis due to the ubiquity of amide bonds, the development of mechanochemical, solid‐state methods remains a major challenge. Herein, we report the first mechanochemical strategy for highly chemoselective, solvent‐free palladium‐catalyzed cross‐coupling of amides by N−C bond activation. The method is conducted in the absence of external heating, for short reaction time and shows excellent chemoselectivity for σ N−C bond activation. The reaction shows excellent functional group tolerance and can be applied to late‐stage functionalization of complex APIs and sequential orthogonal cross‐couplings exploiting double solventless solid‐state methods. The results extend mechanochemical reaction environments to advance the chemical repertoire of N−C bond interconversions to solid‐state environmentally friendly mechanochemical methods.

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  7. Abstract

    Indole is one of the most important heterocycles in organic synthesis, natural products, and drug discovery. Recently, tremendous advances in the selective functionalization of indoles have been reported. Although the most important advances have been powered by transition metal catalysis, exceedingly useful methods in the absence of transition metals have also been reported. In this review, we provide an overview of functionalization reactions of indoles that have been published in the last years with a focus on the most recent advances, aims, and future trends. The review is organized by the positional selectivity and type of methods used for functionalization. In particular, we discuss major advances in transition‐metal‐catalyzed C−H functionalization at the classical C2/C3 positions, transition‐metal‐catalyzed C−H functionalization at the remote C4/C7 positions, transition‐metal‐catalyzed cross‐coupling, and transition‐metal‐free functionalization.

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  8. Abstract

    Cooperative bimetallic catalysis is a fundamental approach in modern synthetic chemistry. We report bimetallic cooperative catalysis for the direct decarbonylative heteroarylation of ubiquitous carboxylic acids via acyl C‐O/C‐H coupling. This novel catalytic system exploits the cooperative action of a copper catalyst and a palladium catalyst in decarbonylation, which enables highly chemoselective synthesis of important heterobiaryl motifs through the coupling of carboxylic acids with heteroarenes in the absence of prefunctionalization or directing groups. This cooperative decarbonylative method uses common carboxylic acids and shows a remarkably broad substrate scope (>70 examples), including late‐stage modification of pharmaceuticals and streamlined synthesis of bioactive agents. Extensive mechanistic and computational studies were conducted to gain insight into the mechanism of the reaction. The key step involves intersection of the two catalytic cycles via transmetallation of the copper–aryl species with the palladium(II) intermediate generated by oxidative addition/decarbonylation.

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  9. Abstract

    The first cobalt‐catalyzed cross‐coupling of aryl tosylates with alkyl and aryl Grignard reagents is reported. The catalytic system uses CoF3and NHCs (NHC=N‐heterocyclic carbene) as ancillary ligands. The reaction proceeds via highly selective C−O bond functionalization, leading to the corresponding products in up to 98 % yield. The employment of alkyl Grignard reagents allows to achieve a rare C(sp2)−C(sp3) cross‐coupling of C−O electrophiles, circumventing isomerization and β‐hydride elimination problems. The use of aryl Grignards leads to the formation of biaryls. The C−O cross‐coupling sets the stage for a sequential cross‐coupling by exploiting the orthogonal selectivity of the catalytic system.

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  10. Abstract

    The discovery of NHCs (NHC = N‐heterocyclic carbenes) as ancillary ligands in transition‐metal‐catalysis ranks as one of the most important developments in synthesis and catalysis. It is now well‐recognized that the strong σ‐donating properties of NHCs along with the ease of scaffold modification and a steric shielding of the N‐wingtip substituents around the metal center enable dramatic improvements in catalytic processes, including the discovery of reactions that are not possible using other ancillary ligands. In this context, although the classical NHCs based on imidazolylidene and imidazolinylidene ring systems are now well‐established, recently tremendous progress has been made in the development and catalytic applications of BIAN‐NHC (BIAN = bis(imino)acenaphthene) class of ligands. The enhanced reactivity of BIAN‐NHCs is a direct result of the combination of electronic and steric properties that collectively allow for a major expansion of the scope of catalytic processes that can be accomplished using NHCs. BIAN‐NHC ligands take advantage of (1) the stronger σ‐donation, (2) lower lying LUMO orbitals, (3) the presence of an extended π‐system, (4) the rigid backbone that pushes the N‐wingtip substituents closer to the metal center by buttressing effect, thus resulting in a significantly improved control of the catalytic center and enhanced air‐stability of BIAN‐NHC‐metal complexes at low oxidation state. Acenaphthoquinone as a precursor enables facile scaffold modification, including for the first time the high yielding synthesis of unsymmetrical NHCs with unique catalytic properties. Overall, this results in a highly attractive, easily accessible class of ligands that bring major advances and emerge as a leading practical alternative to classical NHCs in various aspects of catalysis, cross‐coupling and C−H activation endeavors.

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