Selective C–H Activation of Unprotected Allylamines by Control of Catalyst Speciation

26 July 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


An outstanding challenge in the Pd-catalyzed functionalization of allylamines is the control of stereochemistry. Terminal alkenes preferentially undergo Heck-type reactions, while internal alkenes may undergo a mixture of Heck and C–H activation reactions that give mixtures of stereochemical products. In the case of unprotected allylamines, the challenge in achieving C–H activation is that facile in situ formation of Pd nanoparticles leads to preferential formation of trans rather than cis-substituted products. In this study we have demonstrated the feasibility of using mono-protected amino acid (MPAA) ligands as metal protecting groups to prevent aggregation and reduction, allowing the selective synthesis of free cis-arylated allylamines. This method compliments Heck-selective methods, allowing complete stereochemical control over the synthesis of cinnamylamines, an important class of amine that can serve as therapeutics directly or as advanced intermediates. To highlight the utility of the methodology, we have demonstrated rapid access to mu opioid receptor ligands.


Organic Synthesis
Drug Discovery
Biological Activity

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Contains experimental methods and spectra data.


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