Mild Palladium-Catalyzed Selective Monoarylation of Nitriles
Two new palladium-catalyzed procedures for the arylation of nitriles under less basic conditions than previously reported have been developed. The selective monoarylation of acetonitrile and primary nitriles has been achieved using α-silyl nitriles in the presence of ZnF2. This procedure is compatible with a variety of functional groups, including cyano, keto, nitro, and ester groups, on the aryl bromide. The arylation of secondary nitriles occurred in high yield by conducting reactions with zinc cyanoalkyl reagents. These reaction conditions tolerated base-sensitive functional groups, such as ketones and esters. The combination of these two methods, one with α-silyl nitriles and one with zinc cyanoalkyl reagents, provides a catalytic route to a variety of benzylic nitriles, which have not only biological significance but utility as synthetic intermediates. The utility of these new coupling reactions has been demonstrated by a synthesis of verapamil, a clinically used drug for the treatment of heart disease, by a three-step route from commercial materials that allows convenient variation of the aryl group.
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