Rapid Access to 2-Substituted Bicyclo[1.1.1]pentanes

Olivia L. Garry, Michael Heilmann, Jingjia Chen, Yufan Liang, Xiaheng Zhang, Xiaoshen Ma, Charles S. Yeung, David Jonathan Bennett, David W.C. MacMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The replacement of aryl rings with saturated carbocyclic structures has garnered significant interest in drug discovery due to the potential for improved pharmacokinetic properties upon substitution. In particular, 1,3-difunctionalized bicyclo[1.1.1]pentanes (BCPs) have been widely adopted as bioisosteres for parasubstituted arene rings, appearing in a number of lead pharmaceutical candidates. However, despite the pharmaceutical value of 2-substituted BCPs as replacements for ortho- or meta-substituted arene rings, general and rapid syntheses of these scaffolds remain elusive. Current approaches to 2-substituted BCPs rely on installation of the bridge substituent prior to BCP core construction, leading to lengthy step counts and often nonmodular sequences. While challenging, direct functionalization of the strong bridge BCP C-H bonds would offer a more streamlined pathway to diverse 2-substituted BCPs. Here, we report a generalizable synthetic linchpin strategy for bridge functionalization via radical C-H abstraction of the BCP core. Through mild generation of a strong hydrogen atom abstractor, we rapidly synthesize novel 2-substituted BCP synthetic linchpins in one pot. These synthetic linchpins then serve as common precursors to complex 2-substituted BCPs, allowing one-step access to a number of previously inaccessible electrophile and nucleophile fragments at the 2-position via two new metallaphotoredox protocols. Altogether, this platform enables the expedient synthesis of four pharmaceutical analogues, all of which show similar or improved properties compared to their aryl-containing equivalents, demonstrating the potential of these 2-substituted BCPs in drug development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3092-3100
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 8 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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