Taxol has proved itself in clinical trials and regular treatments to be a very powerful
anticancer drug proving to be a life saver for thousands of patients with leukaemia, solid
tumours in the breast, ovary, brain, or lung3.
However, supplies have been restricted due to environmental concerns leading to
taxol being too expensive for treatment of non private patients. This huge gap in
the supply and demand has lead to many patients being denied treatment that may have cured
them. Hence much effort has been directed into the artificial synthesis of taxol and
its analogues. To date (23/02/98) three complete syntheses of taxol have
been disclosed11,12,13,15,16,17 with several other groups close to completing
their work. A semi-synthesis from 10-deacetylbaccatin III, a precursor of taxol lacking
the C-13 side chain.