Oxetanes as versatile elements in drug discovery and synthesis

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2010 Nov 22;49(48):9052-67. doi: 10.1002/anie.200907155.


Sizable resources, both financial and human, are invested each year in the development of new pharmaceutical agents. However, despite improved techniques, the new compounds often encounter difficulties in satisfying and overcoming the numerous physicochemical and many pharmacological constraints and hurdles. Oxetanes have been shown to improve key properties when grafted onto molecular scaffolds. Of particular interest are oxetanes that are substituted only in the 3-position, since such units remain achiral and their introduction into a molecular scaffold does not create a new stereocenter. This Minireview gives an overview of the recent advances made in the preparation and use of 3-substituted oxetanes. It also includes a discussion of the site-dependent modifications of various physicochemical and biochemical properties that result from the incorporation of the oxetane unit in molecular architectures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Ethers, Cyclic / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*


  • Ethers, Cyclic
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • oxetane