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Catalytic Asymmetric Acylcyanation of Imines


  • We thank Simone Marcus for technical assistance. This work was funded in part by the DFG (Priority program “Organocatalysis” SPP 1179). Generous support by the Max Planck Society and by Novartis (Young Investigator Award to B.L.) is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank BASF, Degussa, Merck, Saltigo, and Wacker for general support and for donating chemicals.


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The less problematic acetyl cyanide can be used instead of toxic HCN for the highly enantioselective acyl-Strecker-type reaction. In the presence of an N-benzylimine and a catalytic amount of Jacobsen's catalyst 1, the desired α-amidonitrile is obtained in excellent enantioselectivity and yield.