Organophosphonium salts containing C(sp3)–+P bonds are among the most utilized reagents in organic synthesis for constructing C–C double bonds. However, their use as C-selective electrophilic groups is rare. Here, we explore an efficient and general transition-metal-free method for sequential chemo- and regioselective C–H and C(sp3)–+P bond functionalizations. In the present study, C–H alkylation resulting in the synthesis of benzhydryl triarylphosphonium salts was achieved by one-pot, four-component, cross-coupling reactions of simple and commercially available starting materials. The utility of the resulting phosphonium salt building blocks was demonstrated by the chemoselective post-functionalization of benzylic C(sp3)–+PPh3 groups to achieve aminations, thiolations, and arylations. In this way, Anchorbenzhydrylamines, benzhydrylthioethers, and triarylmethanes, structural motifs which feature in many pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, are readily accessed. These include the synthesis of two anti-cancer agents from simple materials in only two to three steps. Additionally, a protocol for late-stage functionalization of bioactive drugs has been developed using benzhydrylphosphonium salts. This new approach should provide novel transformations for application in both academic and pharmaceutical research.
Top Downloaded Article: This paper was one of the most downloaded during its 1rst 12 months of publication