WARF: P07510US

Iron Catalyst for Selective Hydrogenation of Aldehydes, Ketones and Imines


Charles Casey, Hairong Guan

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a novel method for using an iron-based, ligand-metal bifunctional catalyst.
OVERVIEWLigand-metal bifunctional catalysts have revolutionized hydrogenation chemistry. These catalysts are highly active and selective at reducing aldehyde, ketone and imine species with unsaturated multiple bonds. They provide an attractive alternative to stoichiometric sodium borohydride and lithium aluminum hydride, two powerful but non-selective reducing agents commonly used to manufacture pharmaceuticals. However, these catalysts contain costly precious metals.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a method of using an iron-based, ligand-metal bifunctional catalyst for the selective hydrogenation of aldehydes, ketones and imines under mild conditions. This catalyst contains relatively inexpensive iron, rather than precious metals. When exposed to an aldehyde, ketone or imine, particularly in the presence of hydrogen gas, it facilitates a reduction reaction that is an important step in the production of pharmaceuticals, animal health products, agrochemicals, fungicides, pheromones, flavors and fragrances.
  • Production of pharmaceuticals, animal health products, agrochemicals, fungicides, pheromones, flavors and fragrances
  • Less expensive than precious metal-based ligand-metal bifunctional catalysts
  • Improved chemoselectivity
  • Reaction occurs with minimal reduction of alkyne and alkene bonds, and without affecting ester or ether moieties
  • Reaction products are easy to isolate.
  • Works under mild reaction conditions
  • Does not require hazardous solvents
  • Produces high yields in less than 24 hours of reaction time
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or 608-960-9845.
The WARF Advantage

Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.