Efficient Chemo-Enzymatic Flow Synthesis of High Value Amides and Esters

    • Francesca Annunziata1
    • Martina Letizia Contente2
    • Daniele Betti1
    • Cecilia Pinna1
    • Francesco Molinari3
    • Lucia Tamborini1*
    • Andrea Pinto3
    • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (DISFARM), University of Milan, via Mangiagalli 25, 20133 Milan, Italy
    • 2School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
    • 3 Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy

    A flow-based chemo-enzymatic synthesis of selected APIs (i.e., butacaine, procaine and procainamide) has been developed. A bioreactor made of MsAcT, a versatile acyltransferase from Mycobacterium smegmatis, immobilised on glyoxyl–garose, was exploited to efficiently prepare amide and ester intermediates in gram scale. Immobilised MsAcT was employed in pure organic solvent, demonstrating high stability and reusability. In-line purification of the key intermediates using polymer-bound sulphonyl chloride was added after the bioreactor, enhancing the automation of the process. A final hydrogenation step using the H-Cube reactor was further carried out to obtain the selected APIs in excellent yields (>99%), making the process fast, safe and easily handled.

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