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Continuous-flow processing has become one of the fastest-growing research areas in chemistry in the last 10 years. Herein we disclose an automated and scalable continuous-flow route for the quick introduction of trifluoromethyl groups on a variety of heterocycles, with application in drug discovery and manufacturing. This involves the direct alkylation-cyclization of amines in the presence of trifluoroacetic acid or anhydride, cheap and readily available CF3-containing building blocks. Compared to traditional batch reactions involving an intermediate purification step, the continuous-flow reactions occurred quickly and at mild conditions, with high yield and broad functional-group tolerance. The practical utility of the method was demonstrated by a gram-scale synthesis and by the estimation of modern green metrics.

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