Chirality: a key parameter in chemical probes

Andrew McGown, Jordan Nafie, Mohammed Otayfah, Storm Hassell-Hart, Graham J. Tizzard, Simon J. Coles, Rebecca Banks, Graham P. Marsh, Hannah J. Maple, George E. Kostakis, Ilaria Proietti Silvestri, Paul Colbon and John Spencer

Many small molecule bioactive and marketed drugs are chiral. They are often synthesised from commercially available chiral building blocks. However, chirality is sometimes incorrectly assigned by manufacturers with consequences for the end user ranging from: experimental irreproducibility, wasted time on synthesising the wrong product and reanalysis, to the added cost of purchasing the precursor and resynthesis of the correct stereoisomer. Further on, this could lead to loss of reputation, loss of
funding, to safety and ethical concerns due to potential in vivo administration of the wrong form of a drug. It is our firm belief that more stringent control of chirality be provided by the supplier and, if needed, requested by the end user, to minimise the potential issues mentioned above. Certification of chirality would bring much needed confidence in chemical structure assignment and could be provided by a variety of techniques, from polarimetry, chiral HPLC, using known chiral standards, vibrational
circular dichroism, and x-ray crystallography. A few case studies of our brushes with wrong chirality assignment are shown as well as some examples of what we believe to be good practice

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