Enantioselective Semireduction of Allenes

Vy Dong reports on the Rh-catalyzed enantioselective semireduction of allenes.

Despite the numerous catalysts and reagents available for the reduction of a wide range of diverse functional groups, the selective reduction of allenes to terminal alkenes remains an unsolved challenge in organic synthesis. In fact, the few existing methods favor the formation of internal olefins. The group of Professor Vy M. Dong at the University of California, Irvine (USA) envisioned that a rhodium-hydride catalyst with a hydride nucleophile could give rise to an asymmetric allene semireduction, which could then lead to products bearing benzylic stereocenters that are common in medicinal chemistry.

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