Tools for creating new pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals using a ‘chemical cube’

A chemical-creation platform based on cubic molecules is being discovered as part of an ongoing discovery program. This platform has the potential to rejuvenate stale pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals.

The College of Queensland’s Teacher Craig Williams said the stage, created in a joint effort with CSIRO, is fostering a thrilling arrangement of devices for scientists who, by and large, had been running out of new synthetic structure block choices.

“Scientific experts have frequently depended on hydrocarbons, substances like petrochemicals, since the beginning of time to assemble new, basically significant synthetics for society,” Teacher Williams said.

“Over history, chemists have frequently relied on hydrocarbons, such as petrochemicals, to create novel and crucial compounds for society.”

The University of Queensland’s Professor Craig Williams.

“However, cubane, a synthetic hydrocarbon shaped like a cube, is one important hydrocarbon that has historically been absent from this mix.”

Cubane was traditionally overlooked due to its limited application and the fact that it could not be synthesized on a large scale.

“This has since changed as Australian CSIRO chemists reported a kilogram-scale synthesis, which is currently being produced at Boron Molecular in Melbourne, which enabled a significant upsurge of Cuban research in the twenty-first century,” the article states.

The UQ team successfully added a nitrogen atom to a close relative of cubane for the first time, which has the long-term potential to improve the properties of this class of molecules for use in biological systems.

“The nature of an all-carbon atom core can impede some biological interactions and restrict their application in drug and agrochemical discovery,” Professor Williams stated. “Hydrocarbons find success within a wide selection of drugs.”

Cuban transformation into 1-azahomocubane Credit: “Elements like nitrogen can facilitate interactions that are biologically desirable that hydrocarbons cannot.”

“In point of fact, the biological requirement for nitrogen is so great that most drugs approved by the FDA in the United States contain at least one nitrogen atom.”

“Upgrading their biological potential by substituting nitrogen atoms into pharmaceutically proven hydrocarbon scaffolds like cubane is an underutilized but appealing strategy.”

“In collaboration with the University of Chicago and Queensland University of Technology, the synthesis and investigation of 1-azahomocubane push the boundaries of what is possible.”

Dr. Paul Savage, Deputy Director of CSIRO Manufacturing, and Professor Williams have worked together for a long time. Savage’s team is skilled at turning laboratory inventions into scalable processes.

According to Dr. Savage, the research team is looking forward to the next step.

Dr. Savage stated, “This foundation may lead to better disease treatments or everyday chemicals that vastly improve our quality of life and the environment.”

“This work is fundamental to providing new options to chemists around the world, and we’re thrilled to have been able to make a contribution towards this goal.” “To be clear, these are all future aspirations and could be a long way off.”

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

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