The contribution of biocatalysis in asymmetric organic synthesis is of great importance. Biocatalysts show high chemo-, regio- and stereo- selectivity and are active under mild reaction conditions. Asymmetric biocatalytic reduction of ketones is particularly important, since chiral alcohols are present in a wide spectrum of pharmaceuticals or can be used as chiral building blocks in the synthesis of numerous natural products and biologically relevant compounds.
Our continuing interest on stereoselective ketoreductase-catalyzed reductions of various di- and tricarbonyl compounds led us into the synthesis of optically active keto alcohols, diols, hydroxy esters, dihydroxy esters, valuable chiral synthons for the synthesis of high added value compounds.
Recently, we have focused in a new class of structurally interesting carbonyl compounds with substituents bearing different heteroatoms, which are very useful chiral synthons of a large variety of bioactive compounds. We will present here our latest results on the enzymatic asymmetric reduction of these compounds.