Pushing the boundaries of the nucleophilic aromatic substitution through photochemistry

Time period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-06-30

Project leader: Henrik Ottosson

Funder: Vinnova

Type of award: Project grant

Total fundning: 182 730 SEK

Purpose and goal: The project had two goals; (i) to establish longterm research contacts between my research group at UU and AstraZeneca and (ii) to develop the photo-SNAr reaction. Both goals have been fulfilled; we have found further collaborative projects which have received external funding for three postdocs presently active on the projects and we have clarified the mechanism for the photo-SNAr reaction for pyrazines which enables us to consider other compound classes. The knowledge gained can be applied to understand why a certain class of drug molecules are light-sensitive. Expected results and effects: The results from the studies of the photo-SNAr reaction were presented at two conferences; the IUPAC Photochemistry conference in Dublin in July this year, and a conference in Barcelona on Nov 1-2. We are writing on two manuscripts for research papers; one on the photo-SNAr reaction and on the photochemistry of dibenzannelated heterocycles with 8 pi-electrons (cores of psychopharmaca). A longterm collaboration with a series of domino effects has been established. The results from the three ongoing postdoc projects will lay the foundation for further papers and grant applications. Approach and implementation: The time at AstraZeneca Gothenburg was split in 12 week-long visits, which essentially was optimal for the project implementation. It made it possible for a previous PhD student (Kjell Jorner, now postdoc at AZ Macclesfield) to participate in the project. Apart from the research collaboration I also gave a short lecture series on aromaticity effects in electronically excited states, with one lecture per month during Jan March this year. I have applied for funding from Stiftelsen Olle Engkvist Byggmästare for continued exchange, yet, with visits of one week every three months.