Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Online ISSN : 1347-5223
Print ISSN : 0009-2363
ISSN-L : 0009-2363
Regular Articles
Development of Scaled-Up Synthetic Method for Retinoid X Receptor Agonist NEt-3IB Contributing to Sustainable Development Goals
Yuta TakamuraKen-ichi MorishitaShota KikuzawaMasaki WatanabeHiroki Kakuta
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2022 Volume 70 Issue 2 Pages 146-154


Small-molecular drugs, which are generally inexpensive compared with biopharmaceuticals and can often be taken orally, may contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations. We previously reported the retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist 4-(ethyl(3-isobutoxy-4-isopropylphenyl)amino)benzoic acid (NEt-3IB, 1) as a small-molecular drug candidate to replace biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. The previous synthetic method to 1 required a large amount of organic solvent and extensive purification. In line with the SDGs, we aimed to develop an environmentally friendly, inexpensive method for the large-scale synthesis of 1. The developed method requires only a hydrophobic ether and EtOH as reaction and extraction solvents. The product was purified by recrystallization twice to afford 99% pure 1 at 100 mmol scale in about 30% yield. The optimized process showed a 35-fold improvement of the E-factor (an index of environmental impact) compared to the original method. This work, which changes the solvent used to environmentally preferable ones based on the existing synthetic method for 1, illustrates how synthetic methods for small-molecular drugs can be adapted and improved to contribute to the SDGs.

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