Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Automated systems, nowadays more commonly used in laboratory settings, are typically fixed to a narrow set of reactions and used within a complex laboratory environment. Now, a portable platform has been developed for the on-demand and on-site multistep synthesis of organic molecules, oligonucleotides and oligopeptides mapped into reactionware systems.

    • J. Sebastián Manzano
    • , Wenduan Hou
    •  & Leroy Cronin
    Nature Chemistry 14, 1311-1318
  • Research |

    A forward-synthesis platform, Allchemy, computationally determines how to ‘close the circle’, or use waste chemicals to make valuable pharmaceutical or agrochemical products, ranking possible routes by environmental, geospatial, and other factors.

    • Agnieszka Wołos
    • , Dominik Koszelewski
    •  & Bartosz A. Grzybowski
    Nature 604, 668-676
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Development of organic electronic materials relies on understanding structure-function relationships in conjugated polymers but the synthetic workload to make large numbers of new compounds presents a practical barrier to properly survey conjugated organic derivatives. Here, the authors use automated synthesis to prepare a library of conjugated oligomers with systematically varied side chain composition followed by single-molecule characterization of charge transport.

    • Songsong Li
    • , Edward R. Jira
    •  & Charles M. Schroeder
  • Research
    | Open Access

    PMOs (phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers) have huge potential for antisense therapy but complex and slow synthesis limits application. Here, the authors report the development of automated flow synthesis methods which reduce nucleobase coupling times from hours to minutes removing human errors and allow for high-throughput production.

    • Chengxi Li
    • , Alex J. Callahan
    •  & Bradley L. Pentelute
  • Research |

    Although strategies for the automated assembly of compounds of pharmaceutical relevance is a growing field of research, the synthesis of small-molecule pharmacophores remains a predominantly manual process. Now, an automated six-step synthesis of prexasertib is achieved by multistep solid-phase chemistry in a continuous-flow fashion using a chemical recipe file that enables automated scaffold modification through both early and late-stage diversification.

    • Chenguang Liu
    • , Jiaxun Xie
    •  & Jie Wu
    Nature Chemistry 13, 451-457

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Achieving autonomous multi-step synthesis of novel molecular structures in chemical discovery processes is a goal shared by many researchers. In this Comment, we discuss key considerations of what an ideal platform may look like and the apparent state of the art. While most hardware challenges can be overcome with clever engineering, other challenges will require advances in both algorithms and data curation.

    • Wenhao Gao
    • , Priyanka Raghavan
    •  & Connor W. Coley
  • News & Views |

    Small-molecule drug discovery and development is limited by the ability of chemists to readily synthesize and purify new compounds with suitable chemical diversity. Now, a new twist on solid-phase chemical synthesis has enabled rapid and simplified synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant small molecules.

    • Mark S. Kerr
    •  & Kevin P. Cole
    Nature Chemistry 13, 399-401
  • News & Views |

    The use of automation for chemical research and reaction discovery has seen significant advances in recent years, but there are still problems that need to be solved. Ella M. Gale and Derek J. Durand discuss limitations in the field and how researchers are working to address these issues.

    • Ella M. Gale
    •  & Derek J. Durand
    Nature Chemistry 12, 509-510
  • Research Highlights |

    Machine learning approaches that attempt to predict the outcome of organic reactions are often complex or highly specialized. A new approach requires the molecular structure of reactants as the only input to predict products, enantioselectivities and yields.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • News & Views |

    Synthetic organic chemistry is increasingly automated, data rich and intelligent. At the Automated Synthesis Forum, industry and academia showcased their recent progress towards this augmented future.

    • David M. Heard
    •  & Alastair J. J. Lennox
    Nature Chemistry 12, 113-114