Director of the Molecular Therapies Program of the Cima University of Navarra
This year's award Nobel Prize from Chemistry recognizes the work pioneering work of Benjamin List and David MacMillan in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis. Behind that play on words lies the development of novel, more environmentally friendly chemical strategies that have had and continue to have enormous application in the synthesis Chemistry of a huge variety of molecules in everyday use, including certain pharmaceuticals.
Catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical and biochemical reactions, have traditionally been limited to certain metals and enzymes. The great contribution of these researchers is the impulse of a new catalysis subject , asymmetric organocatalysis, which is based on the use of relatively simple organic molecules, allowing, among other things, the synthesis of asymmetric molecules, many of which are of enormous importance in the pharmaceutical world. These subject molecules are mirror images of each other and often have very different pharmacological properties.
The possibility of obtaining only one of them, the biologically relevant one, represents an enormous scientific-technical advance and makes it possible to reduce possible undesired effects of the unwanted molecule.