The catalytic asymmetric epoxidation of α,β-unsaturated amides using Sm-BINOL-Ph3As=O complex was succeeded. Using 5-10 mol % of the asymmetric catalyst, a variety of amides were epoxidized efficiently, yielding the corresponding α,β-epoxy amides in up to 99% yield and in more than 99% ee. Moreover, the novel one-pot tandem process, one-pot tandem catalytic asymmetric epoxidation-Pd-catalyzed epoxide opening process, was developed. This method was successfully utilized for the efficient synthesis of β-aryl α-hydroxy amides, including β-aryllactyl-leucine methyl esters. Interestingly, it was found that beneficial modifications on the Pd catalyst were achieved by the constituents of the first epoxidation, producing a more suitable catalyst for the Pd-catalyzed epoxide opening reaction in terms of chemoselectivity.
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