• 3-O-Demethylation of thebaine and the synthesis of a flacourtia aglycone from benzoic acid.

      Murphy, Brennan; Department of Chemistry
      Two synthetic projects were embarked upon, both fraught with protecting group nuance and reaction selectivity. Transformations of the opiate skeleton remain a valuable tool for the development of new medicines. Thebaine, a biosynthetic intermediate in the expression of morphine, was converted in three steps to oripavine through two parallel modes. Through the use of protecting group manipulations, two irreversible scaffold rearrangements were avoided during aryl methyl ether bond cleavage. This chemistry constitutes a new path in manipulations of the morphinan scaffold through protective groups. A new compound family, the flacourtosides, contains an unusual cyclohexenone fragment. The newly described compounds show in preliminary tests antiviral activity against dengue and chikungunya. This aglycone was approached on three pathways, all beginning with the chemoenzymatic dihydroxylation of benzoic acid. A first attempt from a known vinyl epoxide failed to epimerize and cooperate under deprotective conditions. A second and third attempt made use of a diastereoselective dihydroxylation reaction, which was critical in reaching the correct stereochemistry and oxidation state. The methyl ester of the aglycone was prepared, constituting the first synthesis of the non-trivial natural product framework.