An efficient palladium catalyst is presented for the formation of benzylic quaternary stereocenters by conjugate addition of arylboronic acids to a variety of β,β-disubstituted carbocyclic, heterocyclic, and acyclic enones. The catalyst is readily prepared from PdCl2, PhBOX, and AgSbF6, and provides products in up to 99 % enantiomeric excess, with good yields. Based on this strategy, (−)-α-cuparenone has been prepared in only two steps.
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