Access to β‐Ketonitriles through Nickel‐Catalyzed Carbonylative Coupling of α‐Bromonitriles with Alkylzinc Reagents

Aske S Donslund, Karoline T Neumann, Nicklas P Corneliussen, Ebbe K Grove, Domenique Herbstritt, Kim Daasbjerg, Troels Skrydstrup

Herein, we report a nickel‐catalyzed carbonylative coupling of α‐bromonitriles and alkylzinc reagents with near stoichiometric carbon monoxide to give β‐ketonitriles in good yields. The reaction is catalyzed by a readily available and stable nickel(II) pincer complex. The developed protocol tolerates substrates bearing a variety of functional groups, which would be problematic or incompatible with previous synthetic methods. Additionally, we demonstrate the suitability of the method for carbon isotope labeling by the synthesis of 13C‐labeled β‐ketonitriles and their transformation into isotopically labeled heterocycles.