A nickel boride catalyzed reduction of nitriles allows the preparation of Boc protected amines. The catalytic use of nickel(II) chloride in combination with excess sodium borohydride is environmental benign and tolerates air and moisture. Although the yield is sometimes moderate, the cleanliness of the method is exceptional.
S. Caddick, D. B. Judd, A. K. de K. Lewis, M. T. Reich, M. R. V. Williams, Tetrahedron, 2003, 59, 5417-5423.
Benzyl esters of various acids can be chemoselectively cleaved on treatment with nickel boride in methanol at ambient temperature to give the parent carboxylic acids in high yields. Esters such as methyl, ethyl, tert-butyl, and trityl esters as well as benzyl ethers, tert-butyl ethers, and N-benzylamides remain unaffected under these conditions.
J. M. Khurana, R. Arora, Synthesis, 2009, 1127-1130.