Bridge functionalisation of bicyclo[1.1.1]pentane derivatives

Joseph M. Anderson, Nicholas D. Measom, John A. Murphy, Darren L. Poole

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"Escaping from flatland", by increasing the saturation level and three-dimensionality of drug-like compounds, can enhance their potency, selectivity and pharmacokinetic profile. One approach that has attracted considerable recent attention is the bioisosteric replacement of aromatic rings, internal alkynes and tert-butyl groups with bicyclo[1.1.1]pentane (BCP) units. While functionalisation of the tertiary bridgehead positions of BCP derivatives is well-documented, functionalisation of the three concyclic secondary bridge positions remains an emerging field. The unique properties of the BCP core present considerable synthetic challenges to the development of such transformations. However, the bridge positions provide novel vectors for drug discovery and applications in materials science, providing entry to novel chemical and intellectual property space. This mini review aims to consolidate the major advances in the field, serving as a useful reference to guide further work that is expected in the coming years.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Early online date20 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jun 2021


  • bicyclopentane
  • propellane
  • bioisostere
  • bicyclobutane
  • small ring systems
  • three-dimensionality
  • drug-like compounds


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