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Last Updated: January 26, 2021

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Claims for Patent: 8,076,515

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Summary for Patent: 8,076,515
Title:Process for the production of 2-[4-(3- and 2-fluorobenzyloxy) benzylamino] propanamides
Abstract: A process for obtaining therapeutically active 2-[4-(3- and 2-(fluorobenzyloxy)benzylamino]propanamides and their salts with pharmaceutically acceptable acids with high purity degree, in particular, with a content of dibenzyl derivatives impurities lower than 0.03%, preferably lower than 0.01% by weight. The process is carried out by submitting the Schiff bases intermediates 2-[4-(3- and 2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzylideneamino]propanamides to catalytic hydrogenation in the presence of a heterogeneous catalyst in a protic organic solvent.
Inventor(s): Barbanti; Elena (Cologno Monzese, IT), Caccia; Carla (Cardano Al Campo, IT), Salvati; Patricia (Arese, IT), Velardi; Francesco (Cameri, IT), Ruffilli; Tiziano (Vigliano Biellese, IT), Bogogna; Luigi (Vaprio D'Agogna, IT)
Assignee: Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. (Bresso, IT)
Application Number:12/338,825
Patent Claims: 1. A process for producing high purity (S)-2-[4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzylamino]propanamide (safinamide) or (S)-2-[4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzylamino]propanamide (ralfinamide) of formula (Ia) or (Ib) ##STR00011## and pharmaceutically acceptable acid salts thereof, comprising: submitting a Schiff base intermediate respectively of formula (VIa) or (VIb) ##STR00012## to catalytic hydrogenation with hydrogen gas in the presence of a heterogeneous catalyst in a protic organic solvent and, when safinamide or ralfinamide are obtained in a free base form, optionally converting said free base form to a salt thereof with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid.

2. The process as in claim 1 wherein the catalytic hydrogenation is carried out by using an heterogeneous catalyst selected from nickel, rhodium, platinum and palladium catalysts on an inert support in the presence of a solvent selected from lower aliphatic (C.sub.1-C.sub.5) alkanols.

3. The process as in claim 1 wherein the catalyst is a palladium or platinum catalyst.

4. The process as in claim 1 wherein the catalyst is wet 5% Pt/C (50% H.sub.2O) or wet 10% Pd/C (50% H.sub.2O).

5. The process as in claim 1 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid.

6. The process as in claim 1 wherein the hydrogen pressure is between 1 and 10 bars and the temperature is between 10.degree. C. and 70.degree. C.

7. The process as in claim 6 wherein the hydrogen pressure is between 3 and 6 bars and the temperature is between 25.degree. C. and 40.degree. C.

8. The process as in claim 1 wherein the catalytic hydrogenation is carried out on a Schiff base intermediate (VIa) or (VIb) which has been prepared through iminoalkylation of 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVa) or 4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVb) ##STR00013## with L-alaninamide in the presence of a protic organic solvent.

9. The process as in claim 8 wherein the L-alaninamide is employed as an acid addition salt thereof in the presence of a base in an amount sufficient to set free L-alaninamide from its salt.

10. The process as in claim 8 where the catalytic hydrogenation of the Schiff base intermediate is performed on the same reaction mixture resulting from the completion of the iminoalkylation reaction under conditions which provoke the precipitation of said Schiff base intermediate to obtain a suspension of said intermediate in the same reaction solvent.

11. The process as in claim 8 wherein the Schiff base intermediate resulting from the completion of the iminoalkylation reaction is isolated before undergoing the catalytic hydrogenation step.

12. The process as in claim 8 wherein the 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde or 4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde of formula (IVa) or (IVb) employed as the starting material to obtain the Schiff base intermediate of formula (VIa) or (VIb) contains less than 0.03% (by weight), of the respective impurities 3-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (Va) or 3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (Vb) ##STR00014##

13. The process according to claim 12 wherein the 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVa) or 4-(2-fluorobezyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVb) is obtained by alkylation of 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde with, respectively, a 3-fluorobenzyl or 2-fluorobenzyl derivative (IIIa) or (IIIb) ##STR00015## where Y is a leaving group selected from Cl, Br, I, OSO.sub.2CH.sub.3 and OSO.sub.2--C.sub.6H.sub.4-pCH.sub.3, in the presence of a base, and is submitted to crystallization before the use in the successive reaction step.

14. The process as in claim 13 wherein Y is Cl.

15. The process as in claim 13 or 14 wherein the crystallization is carried out by adding an inert organic non-solvent to a solution of the 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVa) or 4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVb) in an inert organic solvent.

16. The process as in claim 15 wherein the inert organic non-solvent is selected from lower aliphatic hydrocarbons and the inert organic solvent is selected from aromatic hydrocarbons.

17. The process as in claim 16 wherein the lower aliphatic hydrocarbon is n-hexane and the aromatic hydrocarbon is toluene.

18. The process as in any of claims 13 and 14 wherein the crystallization is carried out by dissolving the 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVa) or 4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (IVb) in a hot solvent selected from cyclohexane, and a di(C3-C4)alkyl ether at reflux, and then cooling the solution to a temperature at or below room temperature.

19. The process as in any of claims 13 and 14 wherein the alkylation reaction is carried out under phase transfer conditions.

20. The process as in claim 19 wherein the alkylation under phase transfer condition is performed in a solid/liquid system wherein the reagents and the phase transfer catalyst are dissolved in a liquid organic phase and the solid phase is constituted by an inorganic base or a salt of 4-hydroxy benzaldehyde with said inorganic base.

21. The process as in claim 19 wherein the alkylation under phase transfer conditions is performed in a liquid/liquid system wherein the alkylating reagent 3-fluorobenzyl or 2-fluorobenzyl derivative of formula (IIIa) or (IIIb) is dissolved in a liquid organic phase and the 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde is dissolved in an aqueous phase as a salt with an inorganic base.

22. The process as in claim 19 wherein the phase transfer catalyst is selected from quaternary ammonium or phosphonium salts or polyethyleneglycols of low molecular weight.

23. The process of claim 22 wherein the amount of phase transfer catalyst employed is between 0.02 to 1 mole per mole of 4-hydroxybenzaldheyde.

24. The process as in claim 23 wherein the amount of phase-transfer catalyst is 0.1 to 1 mole per mole of 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde.

25. The process as in claim 20 wherein the organic solvent of the liquid organic phase is selected from dialkyl ethers and aromatic hydrocarbons.

26. The process as in claim 21 wherein the molar ratio between the alkylating reagent of formula (IIIa) or (IIIb), and 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde is between 0.6 and 1.5.

27. The process as in claim 20 wherein the temperature is between 60.degree. C. and 160.degree. C.

28. The process as in claim 20 wherein the inorganic base is selected from Na.sub.2CO.sub.3, K.sub.2CO.sub.3, NaOH and KOH, the temperature is between 80.degree. C. and 120.degree. C., and the ratio between the alkylating reagent of formula (IIIa) or (IIIb), and 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde is between 0.9 and 1.1.

29. The process as in claim 12 wherein safinamide or ralfinamide or their pharmaceutically acceptable acid salts, have a content of the respective impurity (S)-2-[3-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]prop- anamide (IIa) or (S)-2-[3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]propanarnide (IIb) ##STR00016## or their pharmaceutically acceptable acid salts, which is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

30. The process as in claim 29 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) or (IIb) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

31. An isolated Schiff base of formula (VIa) or (VIb) ##STR00017##

32. High purity safinamide or ralfinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof with a content of the respective impurity (S)-2-[3-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]propanamide (IIa) or (S)-2-[3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]prop- anamide (IIb) ##STR00018## or their pharmaceutically acceptable acid salts, which is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

33. High purity safinamide or ralfinamide salt with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid as in claim 32 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) or (IIb) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

34. A pharmaceutical formulation containing high purity safinamide or ralfinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof wherein the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) or (IIb) of claim 32 or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

35. The pharmaceutical formulation of claim 34 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) or (IIb) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

36. The pharmaceutical formulation of claim 34, further comprising one or more additional active agent(s) in addition to high purity degree safinamide or ralfinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof wherein the content of the respective impurity (S)-2-[3-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]propanamide (IIa) or (S)-2-[3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]prop- anamide (IIb) or a salt thereof is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

37. The pharmaceutical formulation of claim 36 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) or (IIb) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

38. The pharmaceutical formulation containing high purity safinamide or a salt thereof with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid according to any of claims 36 and 37 wherein the additional active agent is at least one of a dopamine agonist, levodopa, or a catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor.

39. The pharmaceutical formulation containing high purity ralfinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof according to any of claims 36 and 37 wherein the additional active agent is gabapentin or pregabalin, or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid addition salt thereof.

40. A method for treating CNS disorders, selected from the group consisting of epilepsy, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, depression, restless legs syndrome and migraine comprising administering to a patient in need thereof an effective amount of high purity safinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof wherein the content of the impurity (S)-2-[3-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)-4-(3-fluorobenzyl)-benzylamino]prop- anamide of formula (IIa) ##STR00019## or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

41. The method of claim 40, wherein the disorder is Parkinson's disease or restless legs syndrome which comprises administering to a patient in need of said treatment an effective amount of high purity safinamide or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof wherein the content of the impurity of formula (IIa) or a salt thereof with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid is lower than 0.03% (by weight), optionally in conjunction with one or more Parkinson's disease active agent(s).

42. The method of claim 41 wherein the Parkinson's disease active agent is at least one of a dopamine agonist, levodopa, or a catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor.

43. The method as in any of claims 40 to 42 wherein the pharmaceutically acceptable acid is methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIa) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

44. The method as in claim 40 wherein the patient in need of the treatment is classified as poor metabolizer (PM) or is concomitantly consuming other drugs which are known to interact with the cytochromes of the CYP450 system or are known to have HERG channel blocking properties.

45. A method for treating pain conditions, migraine, bipolar disorders, depressions, cardiovascular, inflammatory, urogenital, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders comprising administering to a patient in need thereof an effective amount of high purity ralfinamide or a salt thereof with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid wherein the content of the impurity 2-[3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]propanam- ide of formula (IIb) ##STR00020## or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof is lower than 0.03% (by weight).

46. The method as in claim 45 for treating pain conditions and migraine, optionally in conjunction with gabapentin or pregabalin, or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid addition salt thereof.

47. The method as in any of claims 45 and 46 wherein the salt of ralfinamide with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid is a salt with methanesulfonic acid and the content of the respective impurity of formula (IIb) as the salt with methanesulfonic acid is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

48. The method as in claim 45 wherein the patient in need of the treatment is classified as poor metabolizer (PM) or is concomitantly consuming other drugs which are known to interact with the cytochromes of the CYP450 system or are known to have HERG channel blocking properties.

49. The method as in any of claims 45 and 48 wherein the patient is affected by a bipolar disorder.

50. The method as in claim 49 wherein the salt of ralfinamide with a pharmaceutically acceptable acid which is administered to the patent affected by a bipolar disorder is the salt with methanesulfonic acid.

51. The process as in claim 2 wherein the lower aliphatic (C.sub.1-C.sub.5) alkanol is methanol, ethanol, or isopropanol.

52. The process as in claim 3 wherein the catalyst is platinum.

53. The process as in claim 4 wherein the catalyst is wet 5% Pt/C (50% H.sub.2O).

54. The process as in claim 12 wherein the 4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde or 4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde of formula (IVa) or (IVb) employed as the starting material to obtain the Schiff base intermediate of formula (VIa) or (VIb) contains less than 0.01% (by weight), of the respective impurities 3-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-(3-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (Va) or 3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)benzaldehyde (Vb).

55. The process as in claim 18 wherein the hot solvent is diisopropylether.

56. The process as in claim 18 wherein the temperature is about 10-15.degree. C.

57. The method as in claim 45 wherein the content of the impurity 2-[3-(2-fluorobenzyl)-4-(2-fluorobenzyloxy)-benzylamino]propanamide of formula (IIb) or a pharmaceutically acceptable acid salt thereof is lower than 0.01% (by weight).

58. The method as in claim 45 or 46 wherein the pain condition is chronic pain or neuropathic pain.

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