Method for Improved Synthesis of Steroid Hormone Precursors

Background The current method used to convert a,ß unsaturated ketones into a hydroxy ketones or a hydroxy esters results in only moderate selectivity with a low yield. Also, the effectiveness of some contraceptives and hormonal treatments can stand to be improved.

Invention Description The process operates under neutral reaction conditions that present the formation of unwanted side reactions. It is also concerted (single-step) and proceeds with complete selectivity, which gives a yield that is approximately 30% higher than the process currently in use.


Neutral reaction conditions: This process is easier to apply than existing technology due to mild reaction conditions. Single step: The single-step reaction ensures the process proceeds with excellent selectivity coupled with the elimination of unwanted side reactions. High yield: The 30% higher yield of this process relative to existing technology will lead to a decrease in time and materials requirements, which inevitably leads to a decrease in the overall cost of production.


One economically important application of this process is the conversion of 16-dehydroprogesterone into 17 ahydroxyprogesterone, a synthetic material that has important uses in contraceptives and various hormonal treatments. The process may also be applied to the conversion of ß,ßdisubstituted ketones or esters.

Market Potential/Applications This technology is being offered to industry either as a standalone license opportunity or in conjunction with a sponsored research agreement for development of the specific application areas as described.

UT Researcher Philip D. Magnus, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin Andrew H. Payne, Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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