Welcome to the Curran Group Website
Modern organic synthesis is an enabling discipline for so many enterprises, including drug discovery. Our longstanding interest in cascade radical reactions evolved in unexpected directions when we discovered that silyl analogs of camptothecins (so called “silatecans”) were powerful anti-tumor agents. After a long and exciting roller coaster ride through pre-clinical development, one of our silatecans, DB-67, has recently entered a Phase I clinical trial for cancer chemotherapy at the University of Kentucky.
Synthesizing drug candidates is not the only way to contribute to drug discovery. Methods for fluorous synthesis and separation developed in our group have proven to be very useful in both traditional and parallel synthesis settings. Recently, these methods have been pushed beyond small molecule chemistry for applications like biomolecule synthesis and even proteomics.
In the early days, fluorous chemistry seemed slow to catch on, especially in industry. To facilitate uptake, we founded Fluorous Technologies, Inc (FTI). This thriving small company is focused on research and development of cutting edge new technologies and products.
FTI now has about a dozen full time employees and sells fluorous products in the chemical and biological space.
Beyond these commercialization projects, the vast majority of our ongoing work is best classified as basic research. We are learning how well we can make natural product stereoisomer libraries by fluorous mixture synthesis, discovering the ins and outs of asymmetric reactions of axially chiral amides, and looking into new analogs of the macrocyclic anticancer agent dictyostatin. The force motif behind all our work is a cadre of enthusiastic students and postdocs.