Catalytic System Simplifies Beta-Lactam Production

Sept. 22, 2023
The catalyst utilizes abundant hydrocarbons as feedstock.

Researchers have successfully developed an efficient catalytic system to produce beta-lactam structures, crucial raw materials for bioactive substances and antibiotics like penicillin, accord-ing to a Sept. 20 news release from EurekAlert!  This innovative catalyst utilizes abundant hydrocarbons as feedstock and simplifies the synthesis of beta-lactam-based antibiotics, which typically require complex steps involving chiral auxiliaries.

Beta-lactam compounds are essential for antibiotics like carbapenems and cefalexin. Tradition-al methods for synthesizing them are costly, generate waste and involve multiple steps. How-ever, the team’s new approach, led by Professor Seo Sang-won at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology’s Department of Chemical Physics, in collaboration with the Molecular Activation Catalysis Research team at the Institute for Basic Science led by Professor Seok-bok Jang from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, utilizes an affordable nickel catalyst to selectively produce beta-lactam without the need for auxiliary attachment or removal, reducing the process to just three steps.

This breakthrough has the potential to create high-value products from readily available hydro-carbon sources, simplifying drug development and enabling the production of new candidate drugs more efficiently. Professor Seo Sang-won emphasized the broad applications of this dis-covery in accelerating pharmaceutical development. The research findings were published in Nature Catalysis.