|Credit: Zhu and Cook, 10.1021/ja3061479|
Here's Professor Cook in the Chemical and Engineering News account:
The synthesis can be conducted in a five-pot sequence that is more efficient than any previous total synthesis. “All of the building blocks needed for this synthesis are exceptionally cheap and available on a metric-ton scale,” Cook says. “Is this chemistry ready for supplying the world with artemisinin? No. But with some further reaction engineering, it very well could be.”Speaking as a rank novice process chemist, I feel like we need to quit asking academics about the scalability of routes; it's not their role to perform process development to manufacturing scale. But reporters want to know if total syntheses are practical (and rightly so!) and it offers professors lots of opportunity to speculate. Professor Cook made a wise choice with his "very well could be" quote; there's a lot of work to be done between the lab and the plant.
 Zhu, C.; Cook, S.P. "A Concise Synthesis of (+)-Artemisinin." J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 13577-13579.
[Technical notes: If I were to work on the scaling of this route, I would have to attack the cryogenic steps and improve the yield on the final oxidation. Chromatography? Yikes. I would be concerned about the cost of the ammonium molybdate, the safety of using dimethylzinc (toluene solution?) and finding a different solvent for the Diels-Alder. Is a TIPS-protecting group necessary? Can the final deprotection speed be improved?]