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Scripps Research Institute awarded patent for remarkable chemical technology
Date:5/20/2008

The patent's diverse potential applications include the development of new drugs, bioactive nanomaterials, anti-bacterial and non-immunogenic coatings for medical implants, coatings for semiconductors, coatings and adhesives for ships hulls, self-healing materials, microelectronics and responsive nanomaterials, and surface-sensitive adhesives, to name a few.

The patented technology stems from the discovery that, under proper conditions, copper can quickly and reliably catalyze members of two large chemical groups, azides and alkynes. These reactions enable the controlled formation of an almost endless array of new molecules.

"Because this technology is so revolutionary, it has broad applicability that is very exciting," says Polly Murphy, senior vice president of Business and Scientific Services at Scripps Research. "We believe it has the potential to be used in every branch of industry that uses chemistry."

The patented reactions are a commercially promising development within the broader domain of "click chemistry," pioneered by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Barry Sharpless, a professor at Scripps Research. Click chemistry refers to classes of reactions in which the chemical components used "click" together to bind as easily and reliably as the two pieces of a seatbelt buckle. The buckle works no matter what is attached to it as long as the two pieces can reach one another.

Thousands of Citations

Click chemistry research by Sharpless and his colleagues was initially met with skepticism by a chemistry community that was more accustomed to research focused on increasingly complex chemical reactions.

"It was plain laughed at in the beginning," says Valery Fokin, an associate professor and Sharpless colleague.

But, over time, the utility of the chemistry involved became clear, and there are now more than 1,000 citations for the work in academic publications. The new patent is further confirm
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Contact: Keith McKeown
kmckeown@scripps.edu
858-784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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