Asymmetric synthesis of 3,4-disubstituted 2-(trifluoromethyl)pyrrolidines through rearrangement of chiral 2-(2,2,2-trifluoro-1-hydroxyethyl)azetidines

J. Dolfen, E. Birsen Boydas, V. Van Speybroeck, S. Catak, K. Van Hecke, M. D'Hooghe
Journal of Organic Chemistry
82 (19), 10092–10109


Enantiopure 4-formyl-β-lactams were deployed as synthons for the diastereoselective formation of chiral 2-(2,2,2-trifluoro-1-hydroxyethyl)azetidines via trifluoromethylation through aldehyde modification followed by reductive removal of the β-lactam carbonyl moiety. Subsequent treatment of the (in situ) activated 2-trifluoroethylated azetidines with a variety of nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and fluorine nucleophiles afforded chiral 3,4-disubstituted 2-(trifluoromethyl)pyrrolidines in good to excellent yields (45-99%) and high diastereoselectivities (dr > 99/1, 1H NMR) via interception of bicyclic aziridinium intermediates. Furthermore, representative pyrrolidines were N,O-debenzylated in a selective way and used for further synthetic elaboration to produce e.g. a CF3-substituted 2-oxa-4,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.0]octan-3-one system.