A regioselective high yielding monochloro substitution (chlorohydrin formation) via Mitsunobu reaction is reported. In carbohydrates and sterically hindered non-sugars, only the primary hydroxyl group is chlorinated, whereas in the non-sugar 1,2- and 1,3-alcohols, predominantly the secondary chloride substitution occurs. The versatile methodology provides indirect access to epoxides with the retention of configuration, as against conventional Mitsunobu reaction which generates epoxides with inversion. The methodology was successfully used as a key step in the synthesis of optically active diastereoisomers of the antidepressant drug reboxetine from (R)-2,3-O-cyclohexylidene-D-glyceraldehyde in 43% overall yields.
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Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
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