Cationic Cyclisation Cascades Mediated by Carbon- Electrophiles for the Formation of Novel Polycyclic Products

Vertex Pharmaceuticals
University of Oxford

Daniya is investigating a synthetic methodology for the development of a new method to construct powerful 3D drugs which are very popular in modern drug discovery. These steroid-like compounds are complicated to build but are very effective at binding to biological targets such as enzymes or receptors. However, 3D compounds are under-represented in medicinal chemistry due to a complicated and long-step synthesis. Daniya’s project aims to develop new means of forming multiple carbon-carbon bonds, a highly sought-after bond in pharmacology, in single step processes. Doing so would enable the synthesis of larger scale 3D drugs in a more efficient manner.

Enzymes and receptors, the most common types of drug targets, are 3D compounds, meaning that the drugs used on them must be of a particular orientation to successfully bind to them. It is therefore important to control the shape and connectivity of these drugs as well as how they are built. The development of this new methodology will reduce the cost and time taken to achieve the correct building process, resulting in a more streamlined approach to novel drug discovery through steroid molecules.

Daniya is a graduate from the University of Oxford, having studied Chemistry from 2015-2019. She has since completed several internships at both Imperial College London and the University of Oxford. She is currently a PhD student in the Synthesis for Biology and Medicine CDT at the University of Oxford, working in collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, with whom she is completing her Industrial Fellowship. Daniya has recently published a review paper “Installing the “magic methyl” – C–H methylation in synthesis” alongside fellow researchers.

“This project aims to enable the to-date impossible or long and time-consuming synthesis of natural product-like compounds in drug discovery. I’m excited about its potential to have a significant impact on the costs and timelines involved in the development of novel pharmaceuticals.”