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Diagram of a sulfoximine molecule

PI: Michael Willis

Department: Chemistry

This project will translate a novel chemical process developed in our laboratories into technology usable by chemists in the pharmaceutical and agrochemisty industries. The chemistry targets a class of compounds called sulfoximines; despite the interesting biological activities often associated with these molecules, they are at present underused, due to the extreme difficulty in their preparation. Our work has shown that a direct and simple way to make them is possible. However, our initial work uses highly reactive starting materials that are not suitable for industrial application. This project will take the same overall strategy, but will use benign starting materials that are mainstay feedstocks in the life science industries. This will allow the chemistry to be applied to the types of molecules needed in these industries, and will use the types of apparatus that they employ. The project will be in partnership with the pharmaceutical company UCB, which will allow us to get direct input on the methods we are refining, and will insure general applicability. In addition, the PDRA will spend a period of time towards the end of the project at UCB, allowing them to translate the developed methods into the format needed by the pharmaceutical sector. This will involve automated synthesis and is not available in our laboratories. Ultimately, we will deliver a general method for sulfoximine preparation that is accessible to a wide range of end-users. To achieve the desired uptake of our method we will seek to have our key reagent become commercially available.

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