Bedaquiline is a crucial medicine in the global fight against tuberculosis, yet its high price places it out of reach for many patients. Herein, we describe improvements to the key industrial lithiation-addition sequence that enable a higher yielding and therefore more economical synthesis of bedaquiline. Prioritization of mechanistic understanding and multi-lab reproducibility led to optimized reaction conditions that feature an unusual base–salt pairing and afford a doubling of the yield of racemic bedaquiline. We anticipate that implementation of these improvements on manufacturing scale will be facile, thereby substantially increasing the accessibility of this essential medication.
Supporting Information for Diastereoselectivity is in the Details: Minor Changes Yield Major Improvements to the Synthesis of Bedaquiline