Robert Jacobs

SCYNEXIS, Inc., Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (6)22.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY This review presents a progression strategy for the discovery of new anti-parasitic drugs that uses in vitro susceptibility, time-kill and reversibility measures to define the therapeutically relevant exposure required in target tissues of animal infection models. The strategy is exemplified by the discovery of SCYX-7158 as a potential oral treatment for stage 2 (CNS) Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT). A critique of current treatments for stage 2 HAT is included to provide context for the challenges of achieving target tissue disposition and the need for establishing pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) measures early in the discovery paradigm. The strategy comprises 3 stages. Initially, compounds demonstrating promising in vitro activity and selectivity for the target organism over mammalian cells are advanced to in vitro metabolic stability, barrier permeability and tissue binding assays to establish that they will likely achieve and maintain therapeutic concentrations during in-life efficacy studies. Secondly, in vitro time-kill and reversibility kinetics are employed to correlate exposure (based on unbound concentrations) with in vitro activity, and to identify pharmacodynamic measures that would best predict efficacy. Lastly, this information is used to design dosing regimens for pivotal pharmacokinetic-pharmacodyamic studies in animal infection models.
    Parasitology 09/2013; · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, and the disease is fatal if untreated. There is an urgent need to develop new, safe and effective treatments for HAT because current drugs have extremely poor safety profiles and are difficult to administer. Here we report the development and application of a cell-based resazurin reduction assay for high throughput screening and identification of new inhibitors of T. b. brucei as starting points for the development of new treatments for human HAT. Active compounds identified in primary screening of ∼48,000 compounds representing ∼25 chemical classes were titrated to obtain IC50 values. Cytotoxicity against a mammalian cell line was determined to provide indications of parasite versus host cell selectivity. Examples from hit series that showed selectivity and evidence of preliminary SAR were re-synthesized to confirm trypanocidal activity prior to initiating hit-to-lead expansion efforts. Additional assays such as serum shift, time to kill and reversibility of compound effect were developed and applied to provide further criteria for advancing compounds through the hit-to-lead phase of the project. From this initial effort, six distinct chemical series were selected and hit-to-lead chemistry was initiated to synthesize several key analogs for evaluation of trypanocidal activity in the resazurin-reduction assay for parasite viability. From the hit-to-lead efforts, a series was identified that demonstrated efficacy in a mouse model for T. b. brucei infection and was progressed into the lead optimization stage. In summary, the present study demonstrates the successful and effective use of resazurin-reduction based assays as tools for primary and secondary screening of a new compound series to identify leads for the treatment of HAT.
    International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance. 12/2012; 2:262–270.
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    ABSTRACT: We report the novel chalcone-benzoxaborole hybrids and their structure-activity relationship against Trypanosoma brucei parasites. The 4-NH(2) derivative 29 and 3-OMe derivative 43 were found to have excellent potency. The synergistic 4-NH(2)-3-OMe compound 49 showed an IC(50) of 0.010 μg/mL and resulted in 100% survival and zero parasitemia in a murine infection model, which represents one of the most potent compounds discovered to date from the benzoxaborole class that inhibit T. brucei growth.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2012; 55(7):3553-7. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: African trypanosomiasis, caused by the proto zoal pathogen Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), is one of the most neglected tropical diseases that are in great need of new drugs. We report the design and synthesis of T. brucei leucyl-tRNA synthetase (TbLeuRS) inhibitors and their structure--activity relationship. Benzoxaborole was used as the core structure and C(6) was modified to achieve improved affinity based on docking results that showed further binding space at this position. Indeed, compounds with C(7) substitutions showed diminished activity due to clash with the eukaryote specific I4ae helix while substitutions at C(6) gave enhanced affinity. TbLeuRS inhibitors with IC(50) as low as 1.6 μM were discovered, and the structure-activity relationship was discussed. The most potent enzyme inhibitors also showed excellent T. brucei parasite growth inhibition activity. This is the first time that TbLeuRS inhibitors are reported, and this study suggests that leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS) could be a potential target for antiparasitic drug development.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2011; 54(5):1276-87. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is an urgent need to develop new, safe and effective treatments for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) because current drugs have extremely poor safety profiles and are difficult to administer. Here we report the discovery of 2,4-diaminopyrimidines, exemplified by 4-[4-amino-5-(2-methoxy-benzoyl)-pyrimidin-2-ylamino]-piperidine-1-carboxylic acid phenylamide (SCYX-5070), as potent inhibitors of Trypanosoma brucei and the related trypanosomatid protozoans Leishmania spp. In this work we show that loss of T. brucei viability following SCYX-5070 exposure was dependent on compound concentration and incubation time. Pulse incubation of T. brucei with SCYX-5070 demonstrates that a short period of exposure (10-12 hrs) is required to produce irreversible effects on survival or commit the parasites to death. SCYX-5070 cured an acute trypanosomiasis infection in mice without exhibiting signs of compound related acute or chronic toxicity. To identify the molecular target(s) responsible for the mechanism of action of 2,4-diaminopyrimidines against trypanosomatid protozoa, a representative analogue was immobilized on a solid matrix (sepharose) and used to isolate target proteins from parasite extracts. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and cdc2-related kinases (CRKs) were identified as the major proteins specifically bound to the immobilized compound, suggesting their participation in the pharmacological effects of 2,4-diaminopyrimidines against trypanosomatid protozoan parasites. Results show that 2,4-diaminopyrimidines have a good in vitro and in vivo pharmacological profile against trypanosomatid protozoans and that MAPKs and CRKs are potential molecular targets of these compounds. The 2,4-diminipyrimidines may serve as suitable leads for the development of novel treatments for HAT.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2011; 5(2):e956. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of novel boron-containing molecules, exemplified by N-(1-hydroxy-1,3-dihydrobenzo[c][1,2]oxaborol-6-yl)-2-trifluoromethylbenzamide (AN3520) and 4-fluoro-N-(1-hydroxy-1,3-dihydrobenzo[c][1,2]oxaborol-6-yl)-2-trifluoromethylbenzamide (SCYX-6759), as potent compounds against Trypanosoma brucei in vitro, including the two subspecies responsible for human disease T. b. rhodesiense and T. b. gambiense. These oxaborole carboxamides cured stage 1 (hemolymphatic) trypanosomiasis infection in mice when administered orally at 2.5 to 10 mg/kg of body weight for 4 consecutive days. In stage 2 disease (central nervous system [CNS] involvement), mice infected with T. b. brucei were cured when AN3520 or SCYX-6759 were administered intraperitoneally or orally (50 mg/kg) twice daily for 7 days. Oxaborole-treated animals did not exhibit gross signs of compound-related acute or subchronic toxicity. Metabolism and pharmacokinetic studies in several species, including nonhuman primates, demonstrate that both SCYX-6759 and AN3520 are low-clearance compounds. Both compounds were well absorbed following oral dosing in multiple species and also demonstrated the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier with no evidence of interaction with the P-glycoprotein transporter. Overall, SCYX-6759 demonstrated superior pharmacokinetics, and this was reflected in better efficacy against stage 2 disease in the mouse model. On the whole, oxaboroles demonstrate potent activity against all T. brucei subspecies, excellent physicochemical profiles, in vitro metabolic stability, a low potential for CYP450 inhibition, a lack of active efflux by the P-glycoprotein transporter, and high permeability. These properties strongly suggest that these novel chemical entities are suitable leads for the development of new and effective orally administered treatments for human African trypanosomiasis.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 10/2010; 54(10):4379-88. · 4.57 Impact Factor