The Use of Poly(ethylene glycol) Substituted Pyridine Ligands for the Synthesis of Water-soluble Ruthenium Benzylidene Catalysts for Metathesis Reactions in Water

Primary Inventors: 

Todd S. Emrick, Ph.D. and Kurt Brietenkamp


This invention pertains to the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-substituted pyridine molecules as ligands for ruthenium benzylidene catalysts, where the nitrogen of the pyridine group coordinates to the ruthenium metal center of the catalyst. Such PEG-functionalization, PEGylation, of these ruthenium catalysts gives new water-soluble catalysts that actively polymerize water-soluble cyclic olefins in water. The usefulness of this invention lies in the ability to perform a range of aqueous based metathesis chemistries, such as ring opening metathesis polymerization, ring-closing metathesis, and cross-metathesis.

The use of these catalysts for the polymerization of polar monomers in water has been demonstrated. The ability to carry out polymerizations in entirely aqueous media is advantageous, as organic solvents can be eliminated and post-polymerization purification is minimized.


Catalyst for pharmaceutical synthesis, catalyst for polymer synthesis (especially water-soluble polymers).


Ruthenium metathesis catalysts synthesized with these ligands display enhanced solubility in a wide range of solvents, most notably water, and display remarkable catalytic activity to a number of substrates. Polymerizations using the catalysts described herein often reach full conversion in just minutes.

Licensing Status: 
Available for Licensing and research collaboration
Patent Status: 

Patents issued US 7,332,609 and US 7,960,555

UMA 04-31
For More Information: 

Ling X. Shen, Ph.D., MBA
Licensing Officer
Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property
Phone 413-545-5276