Chiral pool synthesis is a strategy that aims to improve the efficiency of enantioselective synthesis. It starts the organic synthesis of a complex enantiopure chemical compound from a stock of readily available enantiopure substances. Common chiral starting materials include monosaccharides and amino acids. The built-in chirality is then preserved in the remainder of the reaction sequence.
This strategy is especially helpful if the desired molecule bears a great resemblance to cheap enantiopure natural products. Otherwise, a long, tortuous synthesis involving many steps with attendant losses in yield may be required. At times, it may be difficult to find a suitable enantiopure starting material; other techniques may prove more fruitful.
Chiral pool synthesis is used to build a part of the epothilone molecule (an alternative to paclitaxel), from readily available enantiopure (-)-pantolactone. Enantiopure 2,3-butanediol is used to synthesize chiraphos:
Enantiomeric scaffolding is a related concept whereby a conceptually simple but synthetic core molecule of high enantiopurity with many functional groups is synthesized from which a diverse family of molecules can be constructed.