Alain Schweitzer

Novartis, Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland

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Publications (16)59.82 Total impact

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    Alain Schweitzer
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    ABSTRACT: Whole body autoradioluminography (WBA) utilizes radiolabeled compounds to assess the in situ tissue distribution of new chemical entities in laboratory animals and can be used to project dosimetry calculations in humans. The estimate of the tissue concentrations of radioactivity, along with the tissue distribution of radioactivity, allows for physiological-based pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic modeling and estimation of tissue half-life. This chapter provides a review of QWBA methods, methods, data interpretation, and applications to early drug development.
    02/2011: pages 243-259;
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    ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a ubiquitously expressed molecular chaperone with ATPase activity involved in the conformational maturation and stability of key signaling molecules involved in cell proliferation, survival, and transformation. Through its ability to modulate multiple pathways involved in oncogenesis, Hsp90 has generated considerable interest as a therapeutic target. NVP-BEP800 is a novel, fully synthetic, orally bioavailable inhibitor that binds to the NH(2)-terminal ATP-binding pocket of Hsp90. NVP-BEP800 showed activity against a panel of human tumor cell lines and primary human xenografts in vitro at nanomolar concentrations. In A375 melanoma and BT-474 breast cancer cell lines, NVP-BEP800 induced client protein degradation (including ErbB2, B-Raf(V600E), Raf-1, and Akt) and Hsp70 induction. Oral administration of NVP-BEP800 was well tolerated and induced robust antitumor responses in tumor xenograft models, including regression in the BT-474 breast cancer model. In these tumor models, NVP-BEP800 modulated Hsp90 client proteins and downstream signaling pathways at doses causing antitumor activity. NVP-BEP800 showed in vivo activity in a variety of dosing regimens covering daily to weekly schedules, potentially providing a high degree of flexibility in dose and schedule within the clinical setting. Overall, given the mechanism of action, preclinical activity profile, tolerability, and pharmaceutical properties, NVP-BEP800 is an exciting new oral Hsp90 inhibitor warranting further development. Mol Cancer Ther; 9(4); 906-19. (c)2010 AACR.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 04/2010; 9(4):906-19. · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    The AAPS Journal 12/2009; · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whole-body autoradiography ((WBA) or quantitative WBA (QWBA)), microautoradiography (MARG), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometric imaging (MALDI-MSI), and secondary ion mass spectrometric imaging (SIMS-MSI) are high-resolution, molecular imaging techniques used to study the tissue distribution of radiolabeled and nonlabeled compounds in ex vivo, in situ biological samples. WBA, which is the imaging of the whole-body of lab animals, and/or their organ systems; and MARG, which provides information on the localization of radioactivity in histological preparations and at the cellular level, are used to support drug discovery and development efforts. These studies enable the conduct of human radiolabeled metabolite studies and have provided pharmaceutical scientists with a high resolution and quantitative method of accessing tissue distribution. MALDI-MSI is a mass spectrometric imaging technique capable of label-free and simultaneous determination of the identity and distribution of xenobiotics and their metabolites as well as endogenous substances in biological samples. This makes it an interesting extension to WBA and MARG, eliminating the need for radiochemistry and providing molecular specific information. SIMS-MSI offers a complementary method to MALDI-MSI for the acquisition of images with higher spatial resolution directly from biological specimens. Although traditionally used for the analysis of surface films and polymers, SIMS has been used successfully for the study of biological tissues and cell types, thus enabling the acquisition of images at submicrometer resolution with a minimum of samples preparation.
    The AAPS Journal 11/2009; 12(1):11-26. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deferasirox (Exjade, ICL670, CGP72670) is an iron-chelating drug for p.o. treatment of transfusional iron overload in patients with beta-thalassemia or sickle cell disease. The pharmacokinetics and disposition of deferasirox were investigated in rats. The animals received single intravenous (10 mg/kg) or p.o. (10 or 100 mg/kg) doses of 14C-radiolabeled deferasirox. Biological samples were analyzed for radioactivity (liquid scintillation counting, quantitative whole-body autoradioluminography), for deferasirox and its iron complex [high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/UV], and for metabolites (HPLC with radiodetection, liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, 1H and 13C NMR, and two-dimensional NMR techniques). At least 75% of p.o.-dosed deferasirox was absorbed. The p.o. bioavailability was 26% at the 10 mg/kg dose and showed an overproportional increase at the 100 mg/kg dose, probably because of saturation of elimination processes. Deferasirox-related radioactivity was distributed mainly to blood, excretory organs, and gastrointestinal tract. Enterohepatic recirculation of deferasirox was observed. No retention occurred in any tissue. The placental barrier was passed to a low extent. Approximately 3% of the dose was transferred into the breast milk. Excretion of deferasirox and metabolites was rapid and complete within 7 days. Key clearance processes were hepatic metabolism and biliary elimination via multidrug resistance protein 2. Deferasirox, iron complex, and metabolites were excreted largely via bile and feces (total > or = 90%). Metabolism included glucuronidation at the carboxylate group (acyl glucuronide M3) and at phenolic hydroxy groups, as well as, to a lower degree, cytochrome P450-catalyzed hydroxylations. Two hydroxylated metabolites (M1 and M2) were administered to rats and were shown not to contribute substantially to iron elimination in vivo.
    Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals 09/2008; 36(12):2523-38. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The bisphosphonate zoledronic acid is a potent inhibitor of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. To investigate drug biodistribution and elimination, (14)C-zoledronic acid was administered intravenously to rats and dogs in single or multiple doses and assessed for its in vitro blood distribution and plasma protein binding in rat, dog, and human. Drug exposure in plasma, bones, and noncalcified tissues was investigated up to 240 days in rats and 96 h in dogs using radiometry after dissection. Drug biodistribution in the rat and within selected bones from dog was assessed by autoradiography. Concentrations of radioactivity showed a rapid decline in plasma and noncalcified tissue but only a slow decline in bone, to approximately 50% of peak at 240 days post dose, whereas the terminal half-lives (50-200 days) were similar in bone and noncalcified tissues, suggesting redistribution of drug from the former rather than prolonged retention in the latter. Uptake was highest in cancellous bone and axial skeleton. At 96 h after dose, the fraction of dose excreted was 36% in rat and 60% in dog; 94 to 96% of the excreted radioactivity was found in urine. Blood/plasma concentration ratios were 0.52 to 0.59, and plasma protein binding of zoledronic acid was moderate to low in all species. The results suggest that a fraction of zoledronic acid is reversibly taken up by the skeleton, the elimination of drug is mainly by renal excretion, and the disposition in blood and noncalcified tissue is governed by extensive uptake into and slow release from bone.
    Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals 08/2008; 36(10):2043-9. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dermal disposition of pimecrolimus, a non-steroid, anti-inflammatory calcineurin inhibitor used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, was evaluated in minipigs in vivo and in human skin in vitro using tritium-radiolabeled compound, and in dermal toxicokinetic investigations in minipigs using unlabeled compound. Following topical application of pimecrolimus 1% market form (MF) cream to minipig skin, approximately 2% of the dose penetrated into the stratum corneum and part of it into deeper skin layers. The remainder of the dose was recovered non-absorbed on the skin surface. The total systemic absorption was <or=0.8% of dose. Highest pimecrolimus blood concentrations (0.44 ng/mL) were reached between 2 and 6h post-end of topical application. Most of the absorbed drug was excreted as metabolites with feces. In human skin treated in vitro with pimecrolimus 1% MF cream for 24h, >or=94% of dose remained non-absorbed, 3.1% was found in the epidermis (including stratum corneum) and 2.9% in the dermis. There was no indication of metabolism of pimecrolimus in human skin in vitro or minipig skin in vivo. No drug accumulation was observed in minipig skin after up to 13 weeks of once daily topical application of 0.1% or 0.3% pimecrolimus cream.
    European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 01/2008; 33(1):9-19. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mass spectrometric imaging was applied to assess compound distributions on whole-body sections of mice after i.v. dosing of a beta-peptide and an alpha-peptide control. Animals were sacrificed at different time points (5 min, 1 h, 24 h) post-dose, providing simultaneous spatial as well as kinetic information. As a result of this study, no detection of the alpha-peptide control was observed at 1 h post-dose, while retention of the beta-peptide was observed for longer than 24 h post-dose.
    Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 12/2007; 18(11):1921-4. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: FTY720 [2-amino-2-[2-(4-octylphenyl) ethyl]propane-1,3-diol hydrochloride] is an oral sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulator under development for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The drug is phosphorylated in vivo by sphingosine kinase 2 to its bioactive form, FTY720-P. Although treatment with FTY720 is accompanied by a reduction of the peripheral lymphocyte count, its efficacy in MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) may be due to additional, direct effects in the central nervous system (CNS). We now show that FTY720 localizes to the CNS white matter, preferentially along myelin sheaths. Brain trough levels of FTY720 and FTY720-P in rat EAE are of the same magnitude and dose dependently increase; they are in the range of 40 to 540 ng/g in the brain tissue at efficacious doses and exceed blood concentrations severalfold. In a rat model of chronic EAE, prolonged treatment with 0.03 mg/kg was efficacious, but limiting the dosing period failed to prevent EAE despite a significant decrease in blood lymphocytes. FTY720 effectiveness is likely due to a culmination of mechanisms involving reduction of autoreactive T cells, neuroprotective influence of FTY720-P in the CNS, and inhibition of inflammatory mediators in the brain.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 12/2007; 323(2):469-75. · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The highly positively charged, cell-penetrating beta3-octaarginine has been prepared with a radioactive label by acetylation at the N-terminus with a doubly (14)C-labeled acetyl group ((14)CH3-(14)CO). With the radioactive compound, an ADME study (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion) was performed in male rats following an intravenous or oral dose of 1 mg/kg. Sampling was carried out after periods ranging from 5 min to 4 d or 7 d for blood/excretia and quantitative whole-body autoradioluminography (QWBA), respectively. After p.o. dosing, no systemic exposure to peptide-related radioactivity was observed, and the dose was completely excreted in the feces within 24 h suggesting the absence of relevant absorption; less than 3% of the i.v. dose was excreted from the animals within 4 d. Blood levels, after i.v. dosing, dropped within 4 d to less than 2% of Cmax and decreased afterwards only very slowly. No metabolites were observed in the systemic circulation. QWBA Data indicated that the distribution of the acetyl-beta-octaarginine-related radioactivity in the organs and tissues shifted over time. Notably, after 7 d, the highest concentration was measured in the lymph nodes, and the largest amount was found in the liver. A comparison with the results of two previous ADME investigations of beta-peptides (cf. Table 1) reveals that the distribution of the compounds within the animals is structure-dependent, and that there is a full range from oral availability with rather rapid excretion (of a tetrapeptide) to essentially complete lack of both oral absorption and excretion after i.v. administration (of a highly charged octapeptide). A discussion is presented about the in vivo stability and 'drug-ability' of peptides. In general, beta-peptides bearing proteinogenic side chains are compared with peptides consisting entirely of D-alpha-amino acid residues (the enantiomers of the 'natural' building blocks), and suggestions are made regarding a possible focus of future biomedical investigations with beta-peptides.
    Chemistry & Biodiversity 08/2007; 4(7):1413-37. · 1.81 Impact Factor
  • Markus Stoeckli, Dieter Staab, Alain Schweitzer
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    ABSTRACT: The determination of the compound distribution in laboratory animal tissue in early development is a standard process in pharmaceutical research. While this information is traditionally obtained by means of whole-body autoradiography using radiolabeled compounds, this technology does not distinguish between metabolites and parent compound. The technique described in this article, termed matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometric imaging, can fill this gap by simultaneously measuring compound and multiple metabolites distributed in whole-body tissue sections, using non-labeled compounds.
    International Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 01/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: The absorption and disposition of pimecrolimus, a calcineurin inhibitor developed for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases, was investigated in four healthy volunteers after a single oral dose of 15 mg of [(3)H]pimecrolimus. Supplementary information was obtained from in vitro experiments. Pimecrolimus was rapidly absorbed. After t(max) (1-3 h), its blood concentrations fell quickly to 3% of C(max) at 24 h, followed by a slow terminal elimination phase (average t(1/2) 62 h). Radioactivity in blood decreased more slowly (8% of C(max) at 24 h). The tissue and blood cell distribution of pimecrolimus was high. The metabolism of pimecrolimus in vivo, which could be well reproduced in vitro (human liver microsomes), was highly complex and involved multiple oxidative O-demethylations and hydroxylations. In blood, pimecrolimus was the major radiolabeled component up to 24 h (49% of radioactivity area under the concentration-time curve(0-24) h), accompanied by a large number of minor metabolites. The average fecal excretion of radioactivity between 0 and 240 h amounted to 78% of dose and represented predominantly a complex mixture of metabolites. In urine, 0 to 240 h, only about 2.5% of the dose and no parent drug was excreted. Hence, pimecrolimus was eliminated almost exclusively by oxidative metabolism. The biotransformation of pimecrolimus was largely catalyzed by CYP3A4/5. Metabolite pools generated in vitro showed low activity in a calcineurin-dependent T-cell activation assay. Hence, metabolites do not seem to contribute significantly to the pharmacological activity of pimecrolimus.
    Drug Metabolism and Disposition 06/2006; 34(5):765-74. · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The solid-phase synthesis and an ADME investigation with albino and pigmented male rats of the doubly 14C-labelled beta/alpha-tetrapeptide derivative Ac-beta3 hTyr-(D)Trp-beta3 hLys-beta3 hThr-lactone (3; Fig. 3) are described. After intravenous (i.v.) and peroral (p.o.) administration of the peptide, its concentration in blood and plasma, its tissue distribution, and the metabolism and the excretion of the peptide were analyzed over a period of up to 7 days post dose. The tetrapeptide in its ring opened form, 5, has a bioavailability of ca. 25%; radioactivity is distributed in the animals in an organ-specific way, and the compound appears to pass the blood-brain barrier to a very small extent, if at all (Tables 1-3 and Figs. 2-6). Excretion (37% renal, 44% fecal, including biliary) of the tetrapeptide 4 days after i.v. administration is almost complete, with only 4.3% remaining in the carcass; 4 days after p.o. administration 97% of the dose has been excreted in the feces. Radiochromatograms taken of plasma (0.5 and 24 h after i.v. dosing) and of urine and feces extracts (0-48 h collected) reveal the presence of lactone 3 and/or the corresponding hydroxy acid 5 with essentially no or very minor other peaks, respectively, representing possible metabolites (Tables 4-6, and Fig. 7 and 8). A comparison with a previous ADME investigation of a beta-nonapeptide show that--except for the lack of metabolism--all aspects of exposure, distribution, and elimination are different (structure-specific properties). The investigated tetrapeptide 3 is a potent and highly specific agonist of the somatostatin receptor hsst4, rendering the results described herein promising for diagnostic and therapeutic applications of beta-peptides.
    Chemistry & Biodiversity 12/2004; 1(11):1812-28. · 1.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the characteristic features of asthma is a persistent pulmonary inflammation, with increased numbers of eosinophils and activated T-lymphocytes in the airways. T-helper cells of the Th2 phenotype play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of asthma, and they are believed to orchestrate the asthmatic response by releasing a wide repertoire of cytokines. Herein, we describe the design, synthesis, and evaluation in models of allergic asthma of a locally active T-cell modulator, MLD987 (1). Compound 1 is a potent immunosuppressant that inhibits the activation, proliferation, and release of cytokines from T-cells with IC(50) values in the low nanomolar range. In a Brown-Norway rat model of allergic asthma, 1, when given into the airways by intratracheal administration (ED(50) = 1 mg/kg) or by inhalation (ED(50) = 0.4 mg/kg), potently reduced the influx of leukocytes into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples obtained from antigen-challenged animals. In contrast, 1 had an appreciably weaker activity in this model when given orally or intravenously. Pharmacokinetic evaluation in rat and rhesus monkey showed that 1 had both a low oral (2-4%) and a low pulmonary (7%, monkey) bioavailability. These findings are consistent with a local site of action of the compound and rule out that its antiinflammatory activity in the lung was caused by systemically absorbed material, which had been swallowed during inhalation or which had entered the circulation via the airways. Local administration and the metabolically soft structure of 1, which favors rapid systemic metabolism to less immunosuppressive metabolite 2, are the main reasons for the low exposure and weak systemic activity of the compound. Administration of a locally active compound such as 1, by inhalation, should reduce systemic side effects. Our results indicate that 1 has the potential to serve as an alternative to inhaled glucocorticosteroids for the long-term therapy of asthma of all grades of severity.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2004; 47(20):4950-7. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preformed and elicited Ab's against the Galalpha1,3Gal terminating carbohydrate chains (alphaGal Ab's) are the primary cause of hyperacute and acute vascular xenograft rejection in pig-to-primate transplantation. alphaGal Ab's are produced by long-lived Ab-producing cells that are not susceptible to pharmacological immunosuppression. We reasoned that antigen-specific elimination of alphaGal Ab's might be achieved in vivo by systemic administration of nonimmunogenic polyvalent alphaGal structures with high avidity for alphaGal Ab's. We devised GAS914, a soluble trisaccharide-polylysine conjugate of approximately 500 kDa that effectively competes for alphaGal binding by alphaGal IgM (IC(50), 43 nM) and IgG (IC(50), 28 nM) in vitro. Injections of GAS914 in cynomolgus monkeys, at the dose of 1 mg/kg, resulted in the immediate decrease of more than 90% of circulating alphaGal Ab's and serum anti-pig cytotoxicity. In baboons, repeated injections of GAS914 effectively reduced both circulating alphaGal Ab's and cytotoxicity over several months. Studies with [(14)C]GAS914 in rhesus monkeys and Gal(-/-) mice indicate that GAS914 binds to circulating alphaGal Ab's and that the complex is quickly metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidney. Remarkably, posttreatment alphaGal Ab titers never exceeded pretreatment levels and no sensitization to either alphaGal or the polylysine backbone has been observed. Furthermore there was no apparent acute or chronic toxicity associated with GAS914 treatment in primates. We conclude that GAS914 may be used therapeutically for the specific removal of alphaGal Ab's.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 01/2003; 110(12):1869-77. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IN VITRO STUDIES: In CaCo-2 cell monolayers the beta-nonapeptide H(beta-HAla-beta-HLys-beta-HPhe)(3)-OH.4HCl (1), (14)C-labeled on both C atoms of the CH(2)-CO moiety of the central beta-HPhe residue, showed a low intrinsic permeability (<1%) and is subject to a prominent efflux system. The beta-peptide (1) binds to human and rat plasma protein in vitro independent of the concentration of 1 and of the species (30-36% bound fraction at 50, 500, and 5000 ng/ml), and has only low affinity for the corresponding blood cells (less than 5% of compound 1 in blood cells). IN VIVO STUDIES: The in vivo pharmacokinetic characteristics after i.v. administration of 5 mg/kg (to male rats and to bile-duct-operated rats) were: (i) negligible in vivo biotransformation of 1 (in urine, plasma and feces unchanged 1 represented virtually the only compound-related molecule); (ii) rapid initial decline (0-8 h post dose) of levels of compound 1 in blood and plasma followed by a slower decline (8-96 h post dose); (iii) in non-operated animals after 96 h only 38% of the dose was excreted and after 168 h 49% of the dose was found remaining in the carcass; elimination through the intestine wall represented the major elimination pathway in non-operated animals while in bile-duct-cannulated animals biliary excretion was not found to contribute substantially to elimination (iv) quantitative whole-body autoradioluminography (QWBAL) investigations revealed that the kidney was by far the most important target organ of distribution; other tissues with high concentrations of compound-related radioactivity were cartilage, lymph nodes, and liver, whereas lowest levels were found in white fat and in the brain. After p.o. administration (10 mg/kg) negligible radioactivity was observed in the systemic circulation, indicating negligible absorption; essentially the entire oral dose was recovered unchanged in feces collected over a period of 96 h.
    Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition 10/2002; 23(6):251-62. · 2.09 Impact Factor