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May 24, 2007

Harvard University Licenses Technology to Daiso for Synthesizing Chiral Molecules

  • Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) and the fine chemicals division of Daiso inked a licensing agreement aimed at addressing one of the most difficult problems facing pharmaceutical development: ensuring the proper molecular conformation, or chirality, of drugs.

    “The potential of this research is significant, as it will allow Daiso the opportunity to provide our pharmaceutical and small molecule customers with a better way to develop drugs that are safe and effective but will also lower the cost and complexity of making these drugs,” explains Osamu Hatano, corporate officer, general manager of the fine chemicals division at Daiso.

    Hydrolytic Kinetic Resolution (HKR) technology was discovered by Eric N. Jacobsen, Ph.D., the Sheldon Emery professor of chemistry at Harvard University. The technique is an important industrial manufacturing method for synthesizing chiral molecules as intermediates in the synthesis of chiral pharmaceuticals, according to a Harvard spokesperson. 

    Under the terms of a field limited, co-exclusive agreement, Harvard University will license its patented HKR technology, limited to using the new oligomer (salen) catalysts, for use in the synthesis of chiral epoxides and diol compounds. Using this family of catalysts, Daiso will synthesize and sell chiral compounds to its customers.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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