Herein we report our synthetic efforts in supporting the development of the bile alcohol sulfate INT-767, a FXR/TGR5 dual agonist with remarkable therapeutic potential for liver disorders. We describe the process development to a final route for large scale preparation and analogues synthesis. Key sequences include Grignard addition, a one-pot two-step shortening-reduction of the carboxylic side chain, and the final sulfation reaction. The necessity for additional steps such as the protection/deprotection of hydroxyl groups at the steroidal body was also evaluated for step-economy and formation of side-products. Critical bottlenecks such as the side chain degradation have been tackled using flow technology before scaling-up individual steps. The final synthetic route may be successfully employed to produce the amount of INT-767 required to support late-stage clinical development of the compound. Furthermore, potential metabolites have been synthesized, characterized and evaluated for their ability to modulate FXR and TGR5 receptors providing key reference standards for future drug investigations, as well as offering further insights into the structure-activity relationships of this class of compounds.
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