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Jul 25, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

SciFluor: Streamlining fluorination

SciFluor using Harvard technology to improve complex drug molecules

Adding fluorine can improve a compound's pharmaceutical properties, but chemists have never had an efficient method for integrating the atom into complex molecules. Having solved that problem, SciFluor Life Sciences LLC hopes to attract partners interested in using the technology to rescue unsuccessful drug candidates or to manage product lifecycles.

Founder and CTO Tobias Ritter began working on the fluorination technology five years ago in his lab at Harvard University, where he is an associate professor of chemistry.

A fluorinated compound is comparable in size and shape to its non-fluorinated analog, meaning it still can fit a target enzyme's binding receptor. Meanwhile, the strength of a carbon-fluorine bond tends to increase both a compound's resistance to metabolic degradation and its lipophilicity, which improves its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

However, the same properties that make fluorine attractive also make it difficult to work with, according to Ritter.

"Fluorine is the most electronegative atom and has a small anionic...

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