Report

Biocatalytic Asymmetric Synthesis of Chiral Amines from Ketones Applied to Sitagliptin Manufacture

Science  16 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5989, pp. 305-309
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188934

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Abstract

Pharmaceutical synthesis can benefit greatly from the selectivity gains associated with enzymatic catalysis. Here, we report an efficient biocatalytic process to replace a recently implemented rhodium-catalyzed asymmetric enamine hydrogenation for the large-scale manufacture of the antidiabetic compound sitagliptin. Starting from an enzyme that had the catalytic machinery to perform the desired chemistry but lacked any activity toward the prositagliptin ketone, we applied a substrate walking, modeling, and mutation approach to create a transaminase with marginal activity for the synthesis of the chiral amine; this variant was then further engineered via directed evolution for practical application in a manufacturing setting. The resultant biocatalysts showed broad applicability toward the synthesis of chiral amines that previously were accessible only via resolution. This work underscores the maturation of biocatalysis to enable efficient, economical, and environmentally benign processes for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.

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