Total Synthesis of the Antitumor Depsipeptide FE399 and its S-Benzyl Derivative: A Macrolactamization Approach

An efficient and practical method for the synthesis of (9R,14R,17R)-FE399, a novel antitumor bicyclic depsipeptide, was developed. A 2-methyl-6-nitrobenzoic anhydride (MNBA)-mediated dehydration condensation reaction was effectively employed for the formation of the 16-membered macrocyclic depsipeptide moiety of FE399. FE399 was found to exist as an inseparable equilibrium mixture of conformational isomers; the mixture was quantitatively transformed into the corresponding S-benzyl product and isolated as a single isomer. Thus, we could confirm that the molecular structure of FE399 obtained by this method is identical to that of the natural product.