This letter describes the development and SAR of a novel series of GlyT1 inhibitors derived from a scaffold hopping approach that provided a robust intellectual property position, in lieu of a traditional, expensive HTS campaign. Members within this new [3.1.0]-based series displayed excellent GlyT1 potency, selectivity, free fraction, CNS penetration and efficacy in a preclinical model of schizophrenia (prepulse inhibition).
GlyT1; Scaffold hopping; transporter; schizophrenia
A functional high throughput screen and subsequent multi-dimensional, iterative parallel synthesis effort identified the first muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) negative allosteric modulator (NAM) selective for the M5 subtype. ML375 is a highly selective M5 NAM with sub-micromolar potency (human M5 IC50 = 300 nM, rat M5 IC50 = 790 nM, M1–4 IC50 >30 μM), excellent multi-species PK, high CNS penetration, and enantiospecific inhibition.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor; M5; negative allosteric modulator (NAM); ML375; MLPCN probe
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel series of SARS-CoV 3CLpro inhibitors identified through the NIH Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN). In addition to ML188, ML300 represents the second probe declared for 3CLpro from this collaborative effort. The X-ray structure of SARS-CoV 3CLpro bound with a ML300 analog highlights a unique induced-fit reorganization of the S2-S4 binding pockets leading to the first sub-micromolar non-covalent 3CLpro inhibitors retaining a single amide bond.
3CLpro; severe acute respiratory syndrome; SARS; MERS; coronavirus
Development of SAR in an aryl ether series of mGlu5 NAMs leading to the identification of tool compound VU0409106 is described in this Letter. VU0409106 is a potent and selective negative allosteric modulator of mGlu5 that binds at the known allosteric binding site and demonstrates good CNS exposure following intraperitoneal dosing in mice. VU0409106 also proved efficacious in a mouse marble burying model of anxiety, an assay known to be sensitive to mGlu5 antagonists as well as clinically efficacious anxiolytics.
Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) represent a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of schizophrenia. Both allosteric agonism and high glutamate fold-shift have been implicated in the neurotoxic profile of some mGlu5 PAMs; however, these hypotheses remain to be adequately addressed. To develop tool compounds to probe these hypotheses, the structure-activity relationship of allosteric agonism was examined within an acetylenic series of mGlu5 PAMs exhibiting allosteric agonism in addition to positive allosteric modulation (ago-PAMs). PAM 38t, a low glutamate fold-shift allosteric ligand (maximum fold-shift ~3.0), was selected as a potent PAM with no agonism in the in vitro system used for compound characterization and in two native electrophysiological systems using rat hippocampal slices. PAM 38t (ML254) will be useful to probe the relative contribution of cooperativity and allosteric agonism to the adverse effect liability and neurotoxicity associated with this class of mGlu5 PAMs.
G-protein activated, inward-rectifying potassium (K+) channels,
“GIRKs”, are a family of ion channels (Kir3.1-Kir3.4) that has been the focus of intense research
interest for nearly two decades. GIRKs are comprised of various homo-
and heterotetrameric combinations of four different subunits. These
subunits are expressed in different combinations in a variety of regions
throughout the central nervous system and in the periphery. The body
of GIRK research implicates GIRK in processes as diverse as controlling
heart rhythm, to effects on reward/addiction, to modulation of response
to analgesics. Despite years of GIRK research, very few tools exist
to selectively modulate GIRK channels’ activity and until now
no tools existed that potently and selectively activated GIRKs. Here
we report the development and characterization of the first truly
potent, effective, and selective GIRK activator, ML297 (VU0456810).
We further demonstrate that ML297 is active in two in vivo models
of epilepsy, a disease where up to 40% of patients remain with symptoms
refractory to present treatments. The development of ML297 represents
a truly significant advancement in our ability to selectively probe
GIRK’s role in physiology as well as providing the first tool
for beginning to understand GIRK’s potential as a target for
a diversity of therapeutic indications.
GIRK; G-protein; inward rectifier; potassium channel; epilepsy; activator
Development of SAR in an octahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole series of negative allosteric modulators of mGlu1 using a functional cell-based assay is described in this Letter. The octahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole scaffold was chosen as an isosteric replacement for the piperazine ring found in the initial hit compound. Characterization of selected compounds in protein binding assays was used to identify the most promising analogs, which were then profiled in P450 inhibition assays in order to further assess the potential for drug-likeness within this series of compounds.
Glutamate; GPCR; mGlu1; Allosteric modulator; CNS; Octahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole
is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that disrupts the normal
reward circuitry in the central nervous system (CNS), producing euphoric
effects. Cocaine use can lead to acute and life threatening emergencies,
and abuse is associated with increased risk for contracting infectious
diseases. Though certain types of behavioral therapy have proven effective
for treatment of cocaine addiction, relapse remains high, and there
are currently no approved medications for the treatment of cocaine
abuse. Evidence has continued to accumulate that indicates a critical
role for the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) in the modulation of neural circuitry associated with the addictive
properties of cocaine. While the small molecule mGlu5 negative
allosteric modulator (NAM) field is relatively advanced, investigation
into the potential of small molecule mGlu5 NAMs for the
treatment of cocaine addiction remains an area of high interest. Herein
we describe the discovery and characterization of a potent and selective
compound 29 (VU0463841) with good CNS exposure in rats.
The utility of 29 (VU0463841) was demonstrated by its
ability to attenuate drug seeking behaviors in relevant rat models
of cocaine addiction.
mGlu5; negative allosteric modulator; noncompetitive antagonist; CNS; cocaine; addiction
Development of SAR in an N-acyl-N′-arylpiperazine series of negative allosteric modulators of mGlu1 using a functional cell-based assay is described in this Letter. Characterization of selected compounds in protein binding assays was used to aid in selecting VU0469650 for further profiling in ancillary pharmacology assays and pharmacokinetic studies. VU0469650 demonstrated an excellent selectivity profile and good exposure in both plasma and brain samples following intraperitoneal dosing in rats.
Glutamate; GPCR; mGlu1; Allosteric modulator; CNS; Piperazine
A multi-dimensional, iterative parallel synthesis effort identified a series of highly selective mGlu3 NAMs with sub-micromolar potency and good CNS penetration. Of these, ML337 resulted (mGlu3 IC50 = 593 nM, mGlu2 IC50 >30 μM) with B:P ratios of 0.92 (mouse) to 0.3 (rat). DMPK profiling and shallow SAR led to the incorporation of deuterium atoms to address a metabolic soft spot, which subsequently lowered both in vitro and in vivo clearance by >50%.
Metabotropic glutamate receptor; mGlu3; negative allosteric modulator (NAM); ML337; MLPCN probe
This letter describes the further chemical optimization of the M5 PAM MLPCN probes ML129 and ML172. A multi-dimensional iterative parallel synthesis effort quickly explored isatin replacements and a number of southern heterobiaryl variations with no improvement over ML129 and ML172. An HTS campaign identified several weak M5 PAMs (M5 EC50 >10 μM) with a structurally related isatin core that possessed a southern phenethyl ether linkage. While SAR within the HTS series was very shallow and unable to be optimized, grafting the phenethyl ether linkage onto the ML129/ML172 cores led to the first sub-micromolar M5 PAM, ML326 (VU0467903), (human and rat M5 EC50s of 409 nM and 480 nM, respectively) with excellent mAChR selectivity (M1-M4 EC50s <30 μM) and a robust 20-fold leftward shift of the ACh CRC.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors; M5; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); ML326
There is substantial interest in small molecules that can be used to detect or kill the hypoxic (low oxygen) cells found in solid tumors. Nitroaryl moieties are useful components in the design of hypoxia-selective imaging agents and prodrugs because one-electron reductases can convert the nitroaryl group to nitroso, hydroxylamino, and amino metabolites selectively under low oxygen conditions. Here we describe the in vitro, cell free metabolism of a pro-fluorescent substrate, 6-nitroquinoline (1) under both aerobic and hypoxic conditions. Both LC-MS and fluorescence spectroscopic analysis provided evidence that the one-electron reducing enzyme system, xanthine/xanthine oxidase, converted the nonfluorescent parent compound 1 to the known fluorophore 6-aminoquinoline (2) selectively under hypoxic conditions. The presumed intermediate in this reduction process, 6-hydroxylaminoquinoline (6) is fluorescent and can be efficiently converted by xanthine/xanthine oxidase to 2 only under hypoxic conditions. This finding provides evidence for multiple oxygen-sensitive steps in the enzymatic conversion of nitroaryl compounds to the corresponding amino derivatives. In a side reaction that is separate from the bioreductive metabolism of 1, xanthine oxidase converted 1 to 6-nitroquinolin-2(1H)-one (5). These studies may enable the use of 1 as a fluorescent substrate for the detection and profiling of one-electron reductases in cell culture or biopsy samples. In addition, the compound may find use as a fluorogenic probe for detection of hypoxia in tumor models. The occurrence of side products such as 5 in the enzymatic bioreduction of 1 underscores the importance of metabolite identification in the characterization of hypoxia-selective probes and drugs that employ nitroaryl units as oxygen sensors.
An iterative parallel synthesis effort identified a PLD2 selective inhibitor, ML298 (PLD1 IC50 >20,000 nM, PLD2 IC50 = 355 nM) and a dual PLD1/2 inhibitor, ML299 (PLD1 IC50 = 6 nM, PLD2 IC50 = 20 nM). SAR studies revealed a small structural change (incorporation of a methyl group) increased PLD1 activity within this classically PLD2-preferring core, and that the effect was enantiospecific. Both probes decreased invasive migration in U87-MG glioblastoma cells.
Phospholipase D; PLD1; PLD2; ML299; ML298; MLPCN probe
Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) activators have emerged as a novel approach to the treatment of schizophrenia. Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of mGlu5 have generated tremendous excitement and fueled major drug discovery efforts. Although mGlu5 PAMs have robust efficacy in preclinical models of schizophrenia, preliminary reports suggest that these compounds may induce seizure activity. Prototypical mGlu5 PAMs do not activate mGlu5 directly but selectively potentiate activation of mGlu5 by glutamate. This mechanism may be critical to maintaining normal activity-dependence of mGlu5 activation and achieving optimal in vivo effects.
Using specially engineered mGlu5 cell lines incorporating point mutations within the allosteric and orthosteric binding sites, as well as brain slice electrophysiology and in vivo electroencephalography and behavioral pharmacology, we found that some mGlu5 PAMs have intrinsic allosteric agonist activity in the absence of glutamate.
Both in vitro mutagenesis and in vivo pharmacology studies demonstrate that VU0422465 is an agonist PAM that induces epileptiform activity and behavioral convulsions in rodents. In contrast, VU0361747, an mGlu5 PAMs optimized to eliminate allosteric agonist activity, has robust in vivo efficacy and does not induce adverse effects at doses that yield high brain concentrations.
Loss of the absolute dependence of mGlu5 PAMs on glutamate release for their activity can lead to severe adverse effects. The finding that closely related mGlu5 PAMs can differ in their intrinsic agonist activity provides critical new insights that is essential for advancing these molecules through clinical development for treatment of schizophrenia.
Glutamate; allosteric modulators; agonist; schizophrenia; seizure; convulsions; mGlu5
This Letter describes the further optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule (ML137) through the introduction of 5- and 6- membered spirocycles in place of the isatin ketone. Interestingly divergent structure-activity relationships, when compared to earlier M1 PAMs, are presented. These novel spirocycles possess improved efficacy relative to ML137, while also maintaining high selectivity for the human and rat muscarinic M1 receptor subtype.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Spirocyclic; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); ML137; VU0413162
This Letter describes the continued optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule (ML137) with a focused effort on the replacement/modification of the isatin moiety present in this highly selective M1 PAM. A diverse range of structures were validated as viable replacements for the isatin, many of which engendered sizeable improvements in their ability to enhance the potency and efficacy of acetylcholine when compared to ML137. Muscarinic receptor subtype selectivity for the M1 receptor was also maintained.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Allosteric; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); ML137; VU0448350
This Letter describes the continued optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule M1 antagonist (ML012) through an iterative parallel synthesis approach. After several rounds of modifications of the parent compound, we arrived at a new azetidine scaffold that displayed improved potency while maintaining a desirable level of selectivity over other muscarinic receptor subtypes. Data for representative molecules 7w (VU0452865) and 12a (VU0455691) are presented.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1 Antagonist; ML012; VU0455691; VU0452865
Recent preclinical studies demonstrate a role for the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) subtype 1 (EP1) receptor in mediating, at least in part, the pathophysiology of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. A series of amide and N-acylsulfonamide analogs of a previously described picolinic acid-based human EP1 receptor antagonist (7) were prepared. Each analog had improved selectivity at the mouse EP1 receptor over the mouse thromboxane receptor (TP). A subset of analogs gained affinity for the mouse PGE2 subtype 3 (EP3) receptor, another potential therapeutic target. One analog (17) possessed equal selectivity for EP1 and EP3, displayed a sufficient in vivo residence time in mice, and lacked the potential for acyl glucuronide formation common to compound 7. Treatment of mice with 17 significantly attenuated the vasopressor activity resulting from an acute infusion of EP1 and EP3 receptor agonists. Compound 17 represents a potentially novel therapeutic in the treatment of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Prostaglandin E2; EP1; EP3; Antagonist
Herein we report a next generation muscarinic receptor 4 (M4) positive allosteric modulator (PAM), ML253 which exhibits nanomolar activity at both the human (EC50 = 56 nM) and rat (EC50 = 176 nM) receptors and excellent efficacy by the left-ward shift of the ACh concentration response curve (Fold Shift, human = 106; rat = 50). In addition, ML253 is selective against the four other muscarinic subtypes, displays excellent CNS exposure and is active in an amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion assay.
Muscarinic receptor 4; Positive allosteric modulator; Amphetamine induced hyperlocomotion; CNS; PAM
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel series of non-MPEP site metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on an aryl glycine sulfonamide scaffold. This series represents a rare non-MPEP site mGlu5 PAM chemotype.
metabotropic glutamate receptor 5; mGlu5; positive allosteric modulator (PAM); non-MPEP
The M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor is
to play an important role in memory and cognition, making it a potential
target for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia.
Moreover, M1 interacts with BACE1 and regulates its proteosomal
degradation, suggesting selective M1 activation could afford
both palliative cognitive benefit as well as disease modification
in AD. A key challenge in targeting the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors
is achieving mAChR subtype selectivity. Our lab has previously reported
the M1 selective positive allosteric modulator ML169. Herein
we describe our efforts to further optimize this lead compound by
preparing analogue libraries and probing novel scaffolds. We were
able to identify several analogues that possessed submicromolar potency,
with our best example displaying an EC50 of 310 nM. The
new compounds maintained complete selectivity for the M1 receptor over the other subtypes (M2–M5), displayed improved DMPK profiles, and potentiated the carbachol
(CCh)-induced excitation in striatal MSNs. Selected analogues were
able to potentiate CCh-mediated nonamyloidogenic APPsα release,
further strengthening the concept that M1 PAMs may afford
a disease-modifying role in the treatment of AD.
Muscarinic; acetylcholine; positive allosteric
modulator (PAM); ML169; Alzheimer’s disease
(AD); medium spiny neurons (MSNs); MLPCN
We report the optimization of a series of non-MPEP site metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on a simple acyclic ether series. Modifications led to a gain of MPEP site interaction through incorporation of a chiral amide in conjunction with a nicotinamide core. A highly potent PAM, 8v (VU0404251), was shown to be efficacious in a rodent model of psychosis. These studies suggest that potent PAMs within topologically similar chemotypes can be developed to preferentially interact or not interact with the MPEP allosteric binding site.
Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5; mGlu5; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); Non-MPEP
Herein we describe the discovery and development of a novel class of M4 positive allosteric modulators, culminating in the discovery of ML293. ML293 exhibited modest potency at the human M4 receptor (EC50 = 1.3 µM) and excellent efficacy as noted by the 14.6-fold leftward shift of the agonist concentration-response curve. ML293 was also selective versus the other muscarinic subtypes and displayed excellent in vivo PK properties in rat with low IV clearance (11.6 mL/min/kg) and excellent brain exposure (PO PBL, 10 mg/kg at 1 h, [Brain] = 10.3 µM, B:P = 0.85).
Positive allosteric modulator; M4; ML293; CNS penetration; Muscarinic receptor 4
Further chemical optimization of the MLSCN/MLPCN probe ML077 (KCC2 IC50 = 537 nM) proved to be challenging as the effort was characterized by steep SAR. However, a multidimensional iterative parallel synthesis approach proved productive. Herein we report the discovery and SAR of an improved novel antagonist (VU0463271) of the neuronal-specific potassium-chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2), with an IC50 of 61 nM and >100-fold selectivity versus the closely related Na-K-2Cl cotransporter 1 (NKCC1) and no activity in a larger panel of GPCRs, ion channels and transporters.
Potassium-chloride co-transporter 2; KCC2; NKCC1; antagonist
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 (mGlu3) NAM probe (ML289) with 15-fold selectivity versus mGlu2. The mGlu3 NAM was discovered via a ‘molecular switch’ from a closely related, potent mGlu5 positive allosteric modulator (PAM), VU0092273. This NAM (VU0463597, ML289) displays an IC50 value of 0.66 μM and is inactive against mGlu5. 2012
metabotropic glutamate receptor 3; mGlu3; molecular switch; NAM