Differentiation and Functionalization of Adjacent, Remote C–H Bonds

<p>Site-selective functionalizations of C–H bonds will ultimately afford chemists transformative tools for editing and constructing complex molecular architectures<sup>1-4</sup>. Towards this goal, developing strategies to activate C–H bonds that are distal from a functional group is essential<sup>4-6</sup>. In this context, distinguishing remote C–H bonds on adjacent carbon atoms is an extraordinary challenge due to the lack of electronic or steric bias between the two positions. Herein, we report the design of a catalytic system leveraging a remote directing template and a transient norbornene mediator to selectively activate a previously inaccessible remote C–H bond that is one bond further away. The generality of this approach has been demonstrated with a range of heterocycles, including a complex anti-leukemia agent, and hydrocinnamic acid substrates.</p>