A direct catalytic asymmetric aldol reaction of aromatic aldehydes and thioamides is described. A soft Lewis acid/hard Brønsted base cooperative catalyst comprising (R,R)-Ph-BPE/[Cu(CH3CN)4]PF 6/Li(OC6H4-p-OMe) promoted the title reaction efficiently, triggered by in situ generation of the active thioamide enolate through a soft-soft interaction of Cu(I) and the thioamide. The aldol product was transformed into (R)-fluoxetine, an antidepressant agent.
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