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University of Illinois Startup Finds Way to Safely Enhance Drug Effectiveness

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This technology enables the quick and efficient introduction of fluorine and fluorine-containing substituents into molecules. Currently, there are few widely applicable methods available in the market to do so.

The addition of fluorine into pharmaceutical drugs can improve their overall quality including increased lipid solubility, receptor binding, and metabolic stability. However, the introduction of fluorine-containing functionalities often requires harsh synthetic conditions.

Illinois startup Catylix has found a way to incorporate fluorine under mild reaction conditions. Using Dr. Hartwig’s technology, Catylix has developed reagents containing fluorine or fluorine-containing substituents allowing scientists to purchase the specific building blocks required. Unique to this technology is the ability to perform chemistries at or near room temperature.

“More than 25% of compounds in pharmaceutical pipelines contain fluorine, and trifluoromethyl is an important segment of these. Trifluoromethylator®, Catylix’s first reagent available for sale, makes adding this key functional group faster and easier for chemists,” adds CEO of Catylix, Dr. David Rozzell.

For an industry that does billions of dollars each year in revenue, this means increased productivity with less risk. For consumers, it means drugs that are better and work more efficiently.