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Comment Processing & Handling

Commercial launch of a new asymmetric hydrogenation catalyst

By Tetsuo Satoh |

The Fine Chemicals Div. of Takasago International Corp. (Takasago; Tokyo, Japan; www.takasago.com) has commercialized a new, highly efficient asymmetric hydrogenation catalyst for producing chiral alcohols — key chemicals for the production of pharmaceuticals, fragrances and agrochemicals. The ruthenium-complex catalyst is tradenamed RUCY after its molecular structure, ruthenabicycle. When combined with the company’s BINAP ligand [2,2′-bis(diphenylphosphino)-1,1′-binaphthyl], RUCY is said to have a higher activity compared to conventional RuCl2(diphosphine)(diamine) catalysts, enabling the catalyst loading to be reduced by one ninth, which directly influences the catalyst costs and the residual Ru in the product, says the company. For example, the asymmetric hydrogenation of acetopheneone into the corresponding chiral alcohol required just 6 min when catalyzed by RUCY-XylBINAP (diagram) — half the time needed with a conventional catalyst — with better than 99% conversion and an enantioselectivity of more than 99% ee. The turnover frequency for the new catalyst (35,000 min–1) is also significantly higher than that of a conventional catalyst (700 min–1) — which directly affects production…
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