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Late-Stage Functionalization of Biologically Active Heterocycles Through Photoredox Catalysis


  • We thank Spencer Dreher (Merck) and Tim Cernak (Merck) for helpful discussions, Tom Novak (Merck) for obtaining high-resolution mass spectra, and Tom Vickery (Merck) for assistance with safety studies of the reagents.


The direct C[BOND]H functionalization of heterocycles has become an increasingly valuable tool in modern drug discovery. However, the introduction of small alkyl groups, such as methyl, by this method has not been realized in the context of complex molecule synthesis since existing methods rely on the use of strong oxidants and elevated temperatures to generate the requisite radical species. Herein, we report the use of stable organic peroxides activated by visible-light photoredox catalysis to achieve the direct methyl-, ethyl-, and cyclopropylation of a variety of biologically active heterocycles. The simple protocol, mild reaction conditions, and unique tolerability of this method make it an important tool for drug discovery.

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