Expanding Complex Morpholines Using Systematic Chemical Diversity

Org Lett. 2024 May 3;26(17):3493-3497. doi: 10.1021/acs.orglett.4c00528. Epub 2024 Mar 20.


The morpholine heterocycle is a structural unit found in many bioactive compounds and FDA-approved drugs, but the generation of more complex C-functionalized morpholine derivatives remains considerably underexplored. Using systematic chemical diversity (SCD), a concept that guides the expansion of saturated drug-like scaffolds through regiochemical and stereochemical variation, we describe the synthesis of a collection of methyl-substituted morpholine acetic acid esters starting from enantiomerically pure amino acids and amino alcohols. In total, 24 diverse substituted morpholines were produced that vary systematically in regiochemistry and stereochemistry (relative and absolute). These diverse C-substituted morpholines can be directly applied in fragment screening or incorporated as building blocks in medicinal chemistry and library synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemical synthesis
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Esters / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Morpholines* / chemistry
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Morpholines
  • Esters
  • Amino Acids