New method may increase speed, lower costs for pharmaceuticals

Lego building blocks reflected in a mirror.

Texas A&M University chemist Daniel Romo and his team have developed a quick and efficient method of creating one type of complex carbon framework commonly found in pharmaceutical drugs and other natural products.

The research, published last month in the journal Nature Chemistry, describes not only the construction of complex five-membered rings from two-carbon and three-carbon pieces, but also how to do so with a method that uses commodity chemicals — essentially chemicals that are relatively cheap and available in large quantities — and as single-mirror images, a feature characteristic of some organic molecules that can dramatically alter their biological properties.

“Ideally, people will see this method as a very practical, efficient method,” said Romo, a professor since 1993 in the Department of Chemistry. “It could potentially be applied to the synthesis of the next generation of drugs, or to make existing drugs more efficiently.”

More at the College of Science