3-Hydroxypyridine-4-ones have potential as orally active chelators of iron(III) and therefore may find application in the treatment of thalassaemia. An undesirable feature of these molecules is that they inhibit tyrosinase. We have established that alkyl substitution at position 2 in the aromatic ring minimizes interaction with tyrosinase and does so without appreciably influencing the affinity for iron(III).

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