Recent work from the Ingleson group developed the first examples of simple boron based compounds (organoboranes) as phase transfer catalysts for nucleophilic fluorination to form C-F bonds using inexpensive CsF as the fluoride source.
C-F units are pervasive in pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals as fluorine incorporation dramatically (and beneficially) impacts the key properties of bioactive molecules. The societal importance of forming C-F bonds is considerable as about 20% of marketed drugs and 30% of agrochemicals registered in the last 20 years contain at least one fluorine, with the number of fluorine containing drug candidates steadily increasing.
This proof of principle study demonstrates that organoboranes are a class of inexpensive, commercially available compounds that have been overlooked to date for this important application.
This project was funded from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 769599).