Ian Bathurst

Medicines for Malaria Venture, Genève, Geneva, Switzerland

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Publications (17)141.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The continued proliferation of malaria throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world has promoted a push for more efficacious treatments to combat the disease. Unfortunately, more recent remedies such as artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) have been rendered less effective due to developing parasite resistance and new drugs are required that target the parasite in the liver to support the disease elimination efforts. Research was initiated to revisit antimalarials developed in the 1940's and 1960's that were deemed unsuitable for use as therapeutic agents as a result of poor understanding of both physicochemical properties and parasitology. Structure activity studies (SAR) and structure property studies (SPR) were conducted to generate a set of compounds with the general 6-chloro-7-methoxy-2-methyl-4(1H)-quinolone scaffold which were substituted at the 3-position with a variety of phenyl moieties possessing various properties. Extensive physicochemical evaluation for the quinolone series was carried out to downselect the most promising 4(1H)-quinolones 7, 62, 66 and 67 which possessed low nanomolar EC50s against W2 and TM90-C2B as well as improved microsomal stability. Additionally, in vivo Thompson test results using P. berghei in mice showed that these 4(1H)-quinolones were efficacious for the reduction of parasitemia at >99% after 6 days.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2014; DOI:10.1021/jm500942v · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Novel synthetic endoperoxides are being evaluated as new components of artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) to treat artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We conducted blinded ex vivo activity testing of fully synthetic (OZ78, OZ277) and semi-synthetic endoperoxides (artemisone, artemiside, artesunate, dihydroartemisinin) in the histidine-rich protein 2 ELISA against 200 P. falciparum isolates from areas of artemisinin-resistant malaria in western and northern Cambodia in 2009/10. Geomean (GM) IC50s were: artemisone (2.40 nM) > artesunate (8.49 nM) > dihydroartemisinin (11.26 nM) > artemiside (15.28 nM) > OZ277 (31.25 nM) > OZ78 (755.27 nM). Ex vivo activities of test endoperoxides positively correlated with dihydroartemisinin and artesunate. The isolates were over 2-fold less susceptible to dihydroartemisinin relative to the artemisinin-sensitive P. falciparum W2 clone, and showed comparable sensitivity to test endoperoxides and artesunate with isolate/W2 IC50 susceptibility ratios < 2.0. All isolates had P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter mutations, with negative correlations in sensitivity to endoperoxides and chloroquine. Activity of endoperoxides (artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, OZ277, artemisone) significantly correlated with that of the ACT partner drug, mefloquine. Isolates had mutations associated with clinical resistance to mefloquine, with 35% prevalence of P. falciparum multidrug resistance gene 1 (pfmdr1) amplification and 84.5% occurrence of pfmdr1 Y184F mutation. GM IC50s for mefloquine, lumefantrine, and endoperoxides (artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, OZ277, OZ78, artemisone) correlated with pfmdr1 copy number. Given that current ACTs are failing potentially from reduced sensitivity to artemisinins and partner drugs, newly identified mutations associated with artemisinin resistance reported in the literature and pfmdr1 mutations should be examined for their combined contributions to emerging ACT resistance.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 07/2014; 58(10). DOI:10.1128/AAC.02462-14 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The historical antimalarial compound endochin served as a structural lead for optimization. Endochin-Like Quinolones (ELQ) were prepared by a novel chemical route and assessed for in vitro activity against multidrug resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum and against malaria infections in mice. Here we describe the pathway to discovery of a potent class of orally active antimalarial 4(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers. The initial prototype, ELQ-233, exhibited low nanomolar IC50 values against all tested strains including clinical isolates harboring resistance to atovaquone. ELQ-271 represented the next critical step in the iterative optimization process, as it was stable to metabolism and highly effective in vivo. Continued analoging revealed that the substitution pattern on the benzenoid ring of the quinolone core significantly influenced reactivity with the host enzyme. This finding led to the rational design of highly selective ELQs with outstanding oral efficacy against murine malaria that is superior to established antimalarials chloroquine and atovaquone.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2014; 57(9). DOI:10.1021/jm500147k · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goal for developing new antimalarial drugs is to find a molecule that can target multiple stages of the parasite's life cycle, thus impacting prevention, treatment, and transmission of the disease. The 4(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers are selective potent inhibitors of the parasite's mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex. These compounds are highly active against the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. They target both the liver and blood stages of the parasite as well as the forms that are crucial for disease transmission, that is, the gametocytes, the zygote, the ookinete, and the oocyst. Selected as a preclinical candidate, ELQ-300 has good oral bioavailability at efficacious doses in mice, is metabolically stable, and is highly active in blocking transmission in rodent models of malaria. Given its predicted low dose in patients and its predicted long half-life, ELQ-300 has potential as a new drug for the treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, eradication of human malaria.
    Science translational medicine 03/2013; 5(177). DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005029. · 14.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goal for developing new antimalarial drugs is to find a molecule that can target multiple stages of the parasite's life cycle, thus impacting prevention, treatment, and transmission of the disease. The 4(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers are selective potent inhibitors of the parasite's mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex. These compounds are highly active against the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. They target both the liver and blood stages of the parasite as well as the forms that are crucial for disease transmission, that is, the gametocytes, the zygote, the ookinete, and the oocyst. Selected as a preclinical candidate, ELQ-300 has good oral bioavailability at efficacious doses in mice, is metabolically stable, and is highly active in blocking transmission in rodent models of malaria. Given its predicted low dose in patients and its predicted long half-life, ELQ-300 has potential as a new drug for the treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, eradication of human malaria.
    Science translational medicine 03/2013; 5(177):177ra37. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005029 · 14.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this work was to characterize the in vitro (Plasmodium falciparum) and in vivo (Plasmodium berghei) activity profile of the recently discovered lead compound SSJ-183. The molecule showed in vitro a fast and strong inhibitory effect on growth of all P. falciparum blood stages, with a tendency to a more pronounced stage-specific action on ring forms at low concentrations. Furthermore, the compound appeared to be equally efficacious on drug-resistant and drug-sensitive parasite strains. In vivo, SSJ-183 showed a rapid onset of action, comparable to that seen for the antimalarial drug artesunate. SSJ-183 exhibited a half-life of about 10 hours and no significant differences in absorption or exposure between noninfected and infected mice. SSJ-183 appears to be a promising new lead compound with an attractive antimalarial profile.
    Drug Design, Development and Therapy 01/2013; 7:1377-1384. DOI:10.2147/DDDT.S51298 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum infections exhibiting increased parasite clearance times in response to treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies, the need for new therapeutic agents is urgent. Solithromycin, a potent new fluoroketolide currently in development, has been shown to be an effective, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Malarial parasites possess an unusual organelle, termed the apicoplast, which carries a cryptic genome of prokaryotic origin that encodes its own translation and transcription machinery. Given the similarity of apicoplast and bacterial ribosomes, we have examined solithromycin for antimalarial activity. Other antibiotics known to target the apicoplast, such as the macrolide azithromycin, demonstrate a delayed-death effect, whereby treated asexual blood-stage parasites die in the second generation of drug exposure. Solithromycin demonstrated potent in vitro activity against the NF54 strain of P. falciparum, as well as against two multidrug-resistant strains, Dd2 and 7G8. The dramatic increase in potency observed after two generations of exposure suggests that it targets the apicoplast. Solithromycin also retained potency against azithromycin-resistant parasites derived from Dd2 and 7G8, although these lines did demonstrate a degree of cross-resistance. In an in vivo model of P. berghei infection in mice, solithromycin demonstrated a 100% cure rate when administered as a dosage regimen of four doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight, the same dose required for artesunate or chloroquine to achieve 100% cure rates in this rodent malaria model. These promising in vitro and in vivo data support further investigations into the development of solithromycin as an antimalarial agent.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 11/2011; 56(2):703-7. DOI:10.1128/AAC.05039-11 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A library of diamine quinoline methanols were designed based on the mefloquine scaffold. The systematic variation of the 4-position amino alcohol side chain led to analogues that maintained potency while reducing accumulation in the central nervous system (CNS). Although the mechanism of action remains elusive, these data indicate that the 4-position side chain is critical for activity and that potency (as measured by IC(90)) does not correlate with accumulation in the CNS. A new lead compound, (S)-1-(2,8-bis(trifluoromethyl)quinolin-4-yl)-2-(2-(cyclopropylamino)ethylamino)ethanol (WR621308), was identified with single dose efficacy and substantially lower permeability across MDCK cell monolayers than mefloquine. This compound could be appropriate for intermittent preventative treatment (IPTx) indications or other malaria treatments currently approved for mefloquine.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2011; 54(18):6277-85. DOI:10.1021/jm200647u · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drug therapy is the mainstay of antimalarial therapy, yet current drugs are threatened by the development of resistance. In an effort to identify new potential antimalarials, we have undertaken a lead optimization program around our previously identified triazolopyrimidine-based series of Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitors. The X-ray structure of PfDHODH was used to inform the medicinal chemistry program allowing the identification of a potent and selective inhibitor (DSM265) that acts through DHODH inhibition to kill both sensitive and drug resistant strains of the parasite. This compound has similar potency to chloroquine in the humanized SCID mouse P. falciparum model, can be synthesized by a simple route, and rodent pharmacokinetic studies demonstrated it has excellent oral bioavailability, a long half-life and low clearance. These studies have identified the first candidate in the triazolopyrimidine series to meet previously established progression criteria for efficacy and ADME properties, justifying further development of this compound toward clinical candidate status.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2011; 54(15):5540-61. DOI:10.1021/jm200592f · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria is one of the leading causes of severe infectious disease worldwide; yet, our ability to maintain effective therapy to combat the illness is continually challenged by the emergence of drug resistance. We previously reported identification of a new class of triazolopyrimidine-based Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitors with antimalarial activity, leading to the discovery of a new lead series and novel target for drug development. Active compounds from the series contained a triazolopyrimidine ring attached to an aromatic group through a bridging nitrogen atom. Herein, we describe systematic efforts to optimize the aromatic functionality with the goal of improving potency and in vivo properties of compounds from the series. These studies led to the identification of two new substituted aniline moieties (4-SF(5)-Ph and 3,5-Di-F-4-CF(3)-Ph), which, when coupled to the triazolopyrimidine ring, showed good plasma exposure and better efficacy in the Plasmodium berghei mouse model of the disease than previously reported compounds from the series.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2011; 54(11):3935-49. DOI:10.1021/jm200265b · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The clinical use of mefloquine (MQ) has declined due to dose-related neurological events. Next generation quinoline methanols (NGQMs) that do not accumulate in the central nervous system (CNS) to the same extent may have utility. In this study, CNS levels of NGQMs relative to MQ were measured and an early lead chemotype was identified for further optimization. The plasma and brain levels of MQ and twenty five, 4-position modified NGQMs were determined using LCMS/MS at 5 min, 1, 6 and 24 h after IV administration (5 mg/kg) to male FVB mice. Fraction unbound in brain tissue homogenate was assessed in vitro using equilibrium dialysis and this was then used to calculate brain-unbound concentration from the measured brain total concentration. A five-fold reduction CNS levels relative to mefloquine was considered acceptable. Additional pharmacological properties such as permeability and potency were determined. The maximum brain (whole/free) concentrations of MQ were 1807/4.9 ng/g. Maximum whole brain concentrations of NGQMs were 23 - 21546 ng/g. Maximum free brain concentrations were 0.5 to 267 ng/g. Seven (28%) and two (8%) compounds exhibited acceptable whole and free brain concentrations, respectively. Optimization of maximum free brain levels, IC90s (as a measure or potency) and residual plasma concentrations at 24 h (as a surrogate for half-life) in the same molecule may be feasible since they were not correlated. Diamine quinoline methanols were the most promising lead compounds. Reduction of CNS levels of NGQMs relative to mefloquine may be feasible. Optimization of this property together with potency and long half-life may be feasible amongst diamine quinoline methanols.
    Malaria Journal 06/2011; 10:150. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-10-150 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study characterizes aminoindole molecules that are analogs of Genz-644442. Genz-644442 was identified as a hit in a screen of ~70,000 compounds in the Broad Institute's small-molecule library and the ICCB-L compound collection at Harvard Medical School. Genz-644442 is a potent inhibitor of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro (50% inhibitory concentrations [IC₅₀s], 200 to 285 nM) and inhibits P. berghei in vivo with an efficacy of > 99% in an adapted version of Peters' 4-day suppressive test (W. Peters, Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol. 69:155-171, 1975). Genz-644442 became the focus of medicinal chemistry optimization; 321 analogs were synthesized and were tested for in vitro potency against P. falciparum and for in vitro absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties. This yielded compounds with IC₅₀s of approximately 30 nM. The lead compound, Genz-668764, has been characterized in more detail. It is a single enantiomer with IC₅₀s of 28 to 65 nM against P. falciparum in vitro. In the 4-day P. berghei model, when it was dosed at 100 mg/kg of body weight/day, no parasites were detected on day 4 postinfection. However, parasites recrudesced by day 9. Dosing at 200 mg/kg/day twice a day resulted in cures of 3/5 animals. The compound had comparable activity against P. falciparum blood stages in a human-engrafted NOD-scid mouse model. Genz-668764 had a terminal half-life of 2.8 h and plasma trough levels of 41 ng/ml when it was dosed twice a day orally at 55 mg/kg/day. Seven-day rat safety studies showed a no-observable-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) at 200 mg/kg/day; the compound was not mutagenic in Ames tests, did not inhibit the hERG channel, and did not have potent activity against a broad panel of receptors and enzymes. Employing allometric scaling and using in vitro ADME data, the predicted human minimum efficacious dose of Genz-668764 in a 3-day once-daily dosing regimen was 421 mg/day/70 kg, which would maintain plasma trough levels above the IC₉₀ against P. falciparum for at least 96 h after the last dose. The predicted human therapeutic index was approximately 3, on the basis of the exposure in rats at the NOAEL. We were unable to select for parasites with >2-fold decreased sensitivity to the parent compound, Genz-644442, over 270 days of in vitro culture under drug pressure. These characteristics make Genz-668764 a good candidate for preclinical development.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/2011; 55(6):2612-22. DOI:10.1128/AAC.01714-10 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ozonide OZ439 is a synthetic peroxide antimalarial drug candidate designed to provide a single-dose oral cure in humans. OZ439 has successfully completed Phase I clinical trials, where it was shown to be safe at doses up to 1,600 mg and is currently undergoing Phase IIa trials in malaria patients. Herein, we describe the discovery of OZ439 and the exceptional antimalarial and pharmacokinetic properties that led to its selection as a clinical drug development candidate. In vitro, OZ439 is fast-acting against all asexual erythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum stages with IC(50) values comparable to those for the clinically used artemisinin derivatives. Unlike all other synthetic peroxides and semisynthetic artemisinin derivatives, OZ439 completely cures Plasmodium berghei-infected mice with a single oral dose of 20 mg/kg and exhibits prophylactic activity superior to that of the benchmark chemoprophylactic agent, mefloquine. Compared with other peroxide-containing antimalarial agents, such as the artemisinin derivatives and the first-generation ozonide OZ277, OZ439 exhibits a substantial increase in the pharmacokinetic half-life and blood concentration versus time profile in three preclinical species. The outstanding efficacy and prolonged blood concentrations of OZ439 are the result of a design strategy that stabilizes the intrinsically unstable pharmacophoric peroxide bond, thereby reducing clearance yet maintaining the necessary Fe(II)-reactivity to elicit parasite death.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2011; 108(11):4400-5. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1015762108 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite increasing efforts and support for anti-malarial drug R&D, globally anti-malarial drug discovery and development remains largely uncoordinated and fragmented. The current window of opportunity for large scale funding of R&D into malaria is likely to narrow in the coming decade due to a contraction in available resources caused by the current economic difficulties and new priorities (e.g. climate change). It is, therefore, essential that stakeholders are given well-articulated action plans and priorities to guide judgments on where resources can be best targeted. The CRIMALDDI Consortium (a European Union funded initiative) has been set up to develop, through a process of stakeholder and expert consultations, such priorities and recommendations to address them. It is hoped that the recommendations will help to guide the priorities of the European anti-malarial research as well as the wider global discovery agenda in the coming decade.
    Malaria Journal 07/2010; 9:202. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-9-202 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is a disease that is responsible for 880,000 deaths per year worldwide. Vaccine development has proved difficult and resistance has emerged for most antimalarial drugs. To discover new antimalarial chemotypes, we have used a phenotypic forward chemical genetic approach to assay 309,474 chemicals. Here we disclose structures and biological activity of the entire library-many of which showed potent in vitro activity against drug-resistant P. falciparum strains-and detailed profiling of 172 representative candidates. A reverse chemical genetic study identified 19 new inhibitors of 4 validated drug targets and 15 novel binders among 61 malarial proteins. Phylochemogenetic profiling in several organisms revealed similarities between Toxoplasma gondii and mammalian cell lines and dissimilarities between P. falciparum and related protozoans. One exemplar compound displayed efficacy in a murine model. Our findings provide the scientific community with new starting points for malaria drug discovery.
    Nature 05/2010; 465(7296):311-5. DOI:10.1038/nature09099 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To counter the global threat caused by Plasmodium falciparum malaria, new drugs and vaccines are urgently needed. However, there are no practical animal models because P. falciparum infects human erythrocytes almost exclusively. Here we describe a reliable falciparum murine model of malaria by generating strains of P. falciparum in vivo that can infect immunodeficient mice engrafted with human erythrocytes. We infected NOD(scid/beta2m-/-) mice engrafted with human erythrocytes with P. falciparum obtained from in vitro cultures. After apparent clearance, we obtained isolates of P. falciparum able to grow in peripheral blood of engrafted NOD(scid/beta2m-/-) mice. Of the isolates obtained, we expanded in vivo and established the isolate Pf3D7(0087/N9) as a reference strain for model development. Pf3D7(0087/N9) caused productive persistent infections in 100% of engrafted mice infected intravenously. The infection caused a relative anemia due to selective elimination of human erythrocytes by a mechanism dependent on parasite density in peripheral blood. Using this model, we implemented and validated a reproducible assay of antimalarial activity useful for drug discovery. Thus, our results demonstrate that P. falciparum contains clones able to grow reproducibly in mice engrafted with human erythrocytes without the use of myeloablative methods.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(5):e2252. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0002252 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Ian Bathurst, Chris Hentschel
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    ABSTRACT: The Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is committed to discovering, developing and delivering new drugs for malaria. Founded in 1999 as a nonprofit organization bringing private sector management methods to bear on a global public health problem, MMV is today recognized as a leader among the public-private partnerships working on diseases for the developing world. Together with its many partners, MMV manages the world's largest malaria research and development portfolio, covering the innovation spectrum from basic drug discovery to late-stage development.
    Trends in Parasitology 08/2006; 22(7):301-7. DOI:10.1016/j.pt.2006.05.011 · 6.22 Impact Factor