Direct Phosphorylation of Psilocin Enables Optimized cGMP Kilogram-Scale Manufacture of Psilocybin

A second-generation kilogram-scale synthesis of the psychedelic tryptamine psilocybin has been developed. The synthesis was designed to address several challenges first encountered with the scale-up of previously described literature procedures, which were not optimized for providing consistent yield and purity of products, atom economy, or being run in pilot plant-scale reactors. These challenges were addressed and circumvented with the design of the second-generation route, which featured an optimized cGMP large-scale Speeter-Anthony tryptamine synthesis to the intermediate psilocin with improved in-process control and impurity removal over the three steps. Psilocin was subsequently phosphorylated directly with phosphorous oxychloride for the first time, avoiding a tedious and poor atom economy benzyl-protecting group strategy common to all previously described methods for producing psilocybin. In this report, the challenges encountered in a 100 g scale first-generation literature-based synthesis are highlighted, followed by a detailed description of the newly developed second-generation synthesis to provide over one kilogram of high-purity psilocybin under cGMP.