Iron Catalyzed Hydrogen Isotope Labeling of Aromatic Organic Compounds

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A novel isotope labeling method for labeling aromatic organic compounds

Princeton Docket # 13-2854-1

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a novel isotope labeling method for labeling aromatic organic compounds with deuterium or tritium gas by use of proprietary iron-based catalysts.

Introduction of radioactive isotopes into pharmaceutical compounds is important for nutritional and metabolic studies. Presently in pharmaceutical industry, the most widely used catalysts for tritium incorporation are iridium, platinum and palladium based. The high cost and high susceptibility to price fluctuations as well as high toxicity of these precious metals make them unreliable and unattractive. Additionally, currently employed iridium catalysts often require high tritium gas pressure. These new iron based catalysts are low-cost, abundant and far less toxic than the precious metals. Furthermore, the iron based catalysts are fully operational even under subatmospheric pressure of tritium gas.

It is anticipated that this new technology can be applied to various research and diagnostic applications in the pharmaceutical and other industries, at significant cost reduction and safety enhancement.

The Inventor

Paul Chirik is Edward S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry in Princeton University. Research in the Chirik group is at the intersection of the traditional disciplines of organic and inorganic chemistry. The discovery of sustainable methods in chemical synthesis is a unifying theme in their projects. One area of long-standing interest is the discovery of new reactions for the functionalization of atmospheric nitrogen. A second interest is base metal catalysis and the elucidation of the electronic structure of redox-active metal-ligand complexes with emphasis on the integration of spectroscopy and theory.

Intellectual Property status

Patent protection is pending.


Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing 

(609) 258-6762

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Paul Chirik
Renyuan (pony) Yu
Jonathan Darmon