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Chemical Cube tools for building new drugs and agrochemicals


The Cuban molecule before the University of Queensland researchers added the nitrogen, converting it to 1-azahomocubane. Credit: UQ

In the ongoing discovery program, a chemical innovation platform — based on cubic molecules — is being discovered that could help breathe new life into tired drugs and agrochemicals.

Professor Craig Williams from the University of Queensland said the platform, which was developed in collaboration with CSIRO, is developing an exciting set of tools for chemists who, in many cases, have been running out of options for new chemical building blocks.

“Chemists have often relied on hydrocarbons, such as petrochemicals, throughout history to build new chemicals of critical importance to society,” said Professor Williams.

“But one of the major hydrocarbons historically missing from the mix is ​​coban — a synthetic hydrocarbon in the shape of a cube.

“COPE has been traditionally overlooked, as there has been no way to synthesize this molecule on a large scale and so its application has been limited.

“This has since changed as Australian chemists at CSIRO reported a kilogram-scale synthesis, now being produced at Boron Molecular in Melbourne, that has enabled a significant increase in Cuban research in the 21st century.”

For the first time, the team at the University of Queensland has succeeded in incorporating a nitrogen atom into a close relative of cupane, which has long-term potential to improve the properties of this class of molecules for use in biological systems.

“Hydrocarbons find success within a wide range of drugs, but the all-carbon nature of the core can impede some biological interactions and limit their use in drug discovery and agrochemicals,” said Professor Williams.


Convert cuban to 1-Azahomocubane. Credit: UQ

Elements such as nitrogen can facilitate biologically desirable reactions not available to hydrocarbons.

In fact, the biological demand for nitrogen is so great that most FDA-approved drugs contain at least one nitrogen atom.

“Replacing nitrogen atoms in pharmaceutically stabilized hydrocarbon scaffolds, such as cupane, is an underutilized but attractive strategy for improving their biological potential.

“The synthesis and study of 1-azahomocubane in collaboration with the University of Chicago and Queensland University of Technology pushes the boundaries of what is possible.”

Professor Williams has a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Paul Savage, CSIRO’s Deputy Director of Manufacturing, whose team is experienced in translating laboratory inventions into scalable processes.

Dr. Savage said the research team is excited about the next step.

“This fundamental work may lead to better treatments for disease, or everyday chemicals that dramatically improve our quality of life and the environment,” said Dr. Savage.

“To be clear, these are all aspirations for the future — and they may be a long way off — but this work is fundamental to providing new options for chemists around the world, and we are delighted to be able to contribute to that goal.”

more information:
Tyler Fahrenhorst-Jones et al, 1-Azahomocubane, Chemical sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1039/D3SC00001J

Provided by The University of Queensland

the quote: ‘Chemical Cube’ tools for building new drugs and agrochemicals (2023, March 29) Retrieved March 29, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-chemical-cube-tools-drugs-agrochemicals.html

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