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Publications (21)

  • Frank Lovering · Cristina Aevazelis · Jeanne Chang · [...] · Atli Thorarensen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been significant interest in spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) owing to its role in a number of disease states, including autoimmunity, inflammation, and cancer. Ongoing therapeutic programs have resulted in several compounds that are now in clinical use. Herein we report our optimization of the imidazopyrazine core scaffold of Syk inhibitors through the use of empirical and computational approaches. Free-energy perturbation (FEP) methods with MCPRO+ were undertaken to calculate the relative binding free energies for several alternate scaffolds. FEP was first applied retrospectively to determine if there is any predictive value; this resulted in 12 of 13 transformations being predicted in a directionally correct manner. FEP was then applied in a prospective manner to evaluate 17 potential targets, resulting in the realization of imidazotriazine 17 (3-(4-(3,4-dimethoxyphenylamino)imidazo[1,2-f][1,2,4]triazin-2-yl)benzamide), which shows a tenfold improvement in activity relative to the parent compound and no increase in atom count. Optimization of 17 led to compounds with nanomolar cellular activity.
    Article · Sep 2015 · ChemMedChem
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anisole and fluoroanisoles display distinct conformational preferences, as evident from a survey of their crystal structures. In addition to altering the free ligand conformation, various degrees of fluorination have a strong impact on physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties. Analysis of anisole and fluoroanisole matched molecular pairs in the Pfizer corporate database reveals interesting trends: 1) PhOCF3 increases log D by ∼1 log unit over PhOCH3 compounds; 2) PhOCF3 shows lower passive permeability despite its higher lipophilicity; and 3) PhOCF3 does not appreciably improve metabolic stability over PhOCH3 . Emerging from the investigation, difluoroanisole (PhOCF2 H) strikes a better balance of properties with noticeable advantages of log D and transcellular permeability over PhOCF3 . Synthetic assessment illustrates that the routes to access difluoroanisoles are often more straightforward than those for trifluoroanisoles. Whereas replacing PhOCH3 with PhOCF3 is a common tactic to optimize ADME properties, our analysis suggests PhOCF2 H may be a more attractive alternative, and greater exploitation of this motif is recommended. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
    Article · Mar 2015 · ChemMedChem
  • Frank Lovering
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxicity plays a major role in attrition in the clinic and promiscuity has been linked to toxicity. A number of molecular descriptors have been identified that contribute to promiscuity including ionization and logP. In this study we report on the relationship between complexity, as measured by two descriptors [fraction sp3 (Fsp3) where Fsp3 = (number of sp3 hybridized carbons/total carbon count) and chiral carbon count], and promiscuity as well as Cyp450 inhibition. We find that increasing complexity reduces promiscuity and Cyp450 inhibition. As an understanding of key property descriptors has helped the pharmaceutical industry to address some of the deficiencies of compounds as pertains to bioavailability, awareness of the descriptors that impact promiscuity should allow us to better address toxicity in the clinic.
    Article · Feb 2013 · Medicinal Chemistry Communication
  • Frank Lovering · Joseph McDonald · Gavin A Whitlock · [...] · Atli Thorarensen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spleen tyrosine kinase is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, overactivation of which is thought to contribute to autoimmune diseases as well as allergy and asthma. Protein kinases have a highly conserved ATP binding site, thus making challenging the design of selective small molecule inhibitors. It has been well documented that some protein kinases can be stabilized in their inactive conformations (Type-II inhibitors). Herein, we describe a protein structure/ligand-based approach to successfully identify ligands that bind to novel conformations of spleen tyrosine kinase. By utilizing kinase protein crystal structures both in the public domain (RCSB) and within Pfizer's protein crystal database, we report the discovery of the first spleen tyrosine kinase Type-II ligands. Compounds 1 and 3 were found to bind to the DFG-out conformation of spleen tyrosine kinase, while compound 2 binds to a DFG-in, C-Helix-out conformation. In this instance, the C-helix moved significantly to create a large hydrophobic pocket rarely seen in kinase protein crystal structures.
    Article · Jul 2012 · Chemical Biology & Drug Design
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proteolytic enzyme beta-secretase (BACE1) plays a central role in the synthesis of the pathogenic beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease. Recently, we reported small molecule acylguanidines as potent BACE1 inhibitors. However, many of these acylguanidines have a high polar surface area (e.g. as measured by the topological polar surface area or TPSA), which is unfavorable for crossing the blood-brain barrier. Herein, we describe the identification of the 2-aminopyridine moiety as a bioisosteric replacement of the acylguanidine moiety, which resulted in inhibitors with lower TPSA values and superior brain penetration. X-ray crystallographic studies indicated that the 2-aminopyridine moiety interacts directly with the catalytic aspartic acids Asp32 and Asp228 via a hydrogen-bonding network.
    Article · Feb 2010 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • Frank Lovering · Jack Bikker · Christine Humblet
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The medicinal chemistry community has become increasingly aware of the value of tracking calculated physical properties such as molecular weight, topological polar surface area, rotatable bonds, and hydrogen bond donors and acceptors. We hypothesized that the shift to high-throughput synthetic practices over the past decade may be another factor that may predispose molecules to fail by steering discovery efforts toward achiral, aromatic compounds. We have proposed two simple and interpretable measures of the complexity of molecules prepared as potential drug candidates. The first is carbon bond saturation as defined by fraction sp(3) (Fsp(3)) where Fsp(3) = (number of sp(3) hybridized carbons/total carbon count). The second is simply whether a chiral carbon exists in the molecule. We demonstrate that both complexity (as measured by Fsp(3)) and the presence of chiral centers correlate with success as compounds transition from discovery, through clinical testing, to drugs. In an attempt to explain these observations, we further demonstrate that saturation correlates with solubility, an experimental physical property important to success in the drug discovery setting.
    Article · Nov 2009 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Chunchun Zhang · Frank Lovering · Mark Behnke · [...] · Jeremy I Levin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of alpha-sulfone piperidine hydroxamate TACE inhibitors 11a-n bearing a quinolinyl methyl P1' group was prepared, and their activity was compared to analogous alpha- and beta-sulfone piperidine hydroxamates with a butynyloxy P1' group. The quinolinyl methyl P1' group affords increased inhibitory enzyme activity relative to the corresponding butynyloxy P1' analogs in the alpha-sulfone piperidine hydroxamate series, and greater selectivity than the corresponding butynyloxy P1' analogs in the beta-sulfone piperidine hydroxamate series.
    Article · Aug 2009 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • Frank Lovering · Steve Kirincich · Weiheng Wang · [...] · J B Telliez
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel series of inhibitors for mitogen activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase 2 (MK-2) are reported. These squarate based inhibitors were identified via a high-throughput screen. An MK2 co-structure with the starting ligand was obtained and a structure based approach was followed to optimize potency and selectivity.
    Article · Apr 2009 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry
  • Adrian Huang · Diane Joseph-McCarthy · Frank Lovering · [...] · Jeremy I Levin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of beta-sulfonyl hydroxamate TACE inhibitors, bearing a butynylamino or a butynyloxy P1' group, was designed and synthesized. Of the compounds investigated, 22 has excellent potency against isolated TACE enzyme, shows good selectivity over MMP-2 and MMP-13, and oral activity in an in vivo mouse model of TNF-alpha production.
    Article · Oct 2007 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Structure-based methods were used to design beta-sulfone 3,3-piperidine hydroxamates as TACE inhibitors with the aim of improving selectivity for TACE versus MMP-13. Several compounds in this series were synthesized and evaluated in enzymatic and cell-based assays. These analogs exhibit excellent in vitro potency against isolated TACE enzyme and show good selectivity for TACE over the related metalloproteases MMP-2, -13, and -14.
    Article · Sep 2007 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthesis and structure-activity relationship of a series of indole inhibitors of cytosolic phospholipase A2alpha (cPLA2alpha, type IVA phospholipase) are described. Inhibitors of cPLA2alpha are predicted to be efficacious in treating asthma as well as the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and pain. The introduction of a benzyl sulfonamide substituent at C2 was found to impart improved potency of these inhibitors, and the SAR of these sulfonamide analogues is disclosed. Compound 123 (Ecopladib) is a sub-micromolar inhibitor of cPLA2alpha in the GLU micelle and rat whole blood assays. Compound 123 displayed oral efficacy in the rat carrageenan air pouch and rat carrageenan-induced paw edema models.
    Article · Apr 2007 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By focusing on the P1 portion of the piperidine beta-sulfone ligands we identified a motif that induces selectivity and resulted in a series of TACE inhibitors that demonstrated excellent in vitro potency against isolated TACE enzyme and excellent selectivity over MMPs 1, 2, 9, 13, and 14.
    Article · Feb 2007 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACE1 is an aspartyl protease responsible for cleaving amyloid precursor protein to liberate Abeta, which aggregates leading to plaque deposits implicated in Alzheimer's disease. We have identified small-molecule acylguanidine inhibitors of BACE1. Crystallographic studies show that these compounds form unique hydrogen-bonding interactions with the catalytic site aspartic acids and stabilize the protein in a flap-open conformation. Structure-based optimization led to the identification of potent analogs, such as 10d (BACE1 IC(50) = 110 nM).
    Article · Nov 2006 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Beta-secretase 1 (BACE1) is an aspartic protease believed to play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease. Inhibitors of this enzyme have been designed by incorporating the non-cleavable hydroxyethylene and statine isosteres into peptides corresponding to BACE1 substrate sequences. We sought to develop new methods to quickly characterize and optimize inhibitors based on the statine core. Minimal sequence requirements for binding were first established using both crystallography and peptide spot synthesis. These shortened peptide inhibitors were then optimized by using spot synthesis to perform iterative cycles of substitution and deletion. The present study resulted in the identification of novel "bis-statine" inhibitors shown by crystallography to have a unique binding mode. Our results demonstrate the application of peptide spot synthesis as an effective method for enhancing peptidomimetic drug discovery.
    Article · Aug 2006 · Peptides
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compound 1 was previously reported to be a potent inhibitor of cPLA(2)alpha in both artificial monomeric substrate and cell-based assays. However, 1 was inactive in whole blood assays previously used to characterize cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase inhibitors. The IC(50) of 1 increased dramatically with cell number or lipid/detergent concentration. In an attempt to insert an electrophilic ketone between the indole and benzoic acid moieties, we discovered that increasing the distance between the two moieties gave a compound with activity in the GLU (7-hydroxycoumarinyl-gamma-linolenate) micelle assay, which contains lipid and detergent. Extensive structure-activity relationship work around this lead identified a potent pharmacophore for cPLA(2)alpha inhibition. The IC(50)s between the GLU micelle and rat whole blood assays correlated highly. No correlation was found for other parameters, including lipophilicity or acidity of the required acid functionality. Compounds 25, 39, and 94 emerged as potent, selective inhibitors of cPLA(2)alpha and represent well-validated starting points for further optimization.
    Article · Feb 2006 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acyl carrier protein synthase (AcpS) catalyzes the transfer of the 4'-phosphopantetheinyl group from the coenzyme A to a serine residue in acyl carrier protein (ACP), thereby activating ACP, an important step in cell wall biosynthesis. The structure-based design of novel anthranilic acid inhibitors of AcpS, a potential antibacterial target, is presented. An initial high-throughput screening lead and numerous analogues were modeled into the available AcpS X-ray structure, opportunities for synthetic modification were identified, and an iterative process of synthetic modification, X-ray complex structure determination with AcpS, biological testing, and further modeling ultimately led to potent inhibitors of the enzyme. Four X-ray complex structures of representative anthranilic acid ligands bound to AcpS are described in detail.
    Article · Jan 2006 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Junjun Wu · Thomas S. III Rush · Rajeev Hotchandani · [...] · Frank E Lovering
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A potent, selective series of MMP-13 inhibitors has been derived from a weak (3.2 microM) inhibitor that did not bear a zinc chelator. Structure-based drug design strategies were employed to append a Zn-chelating group to one end of the molecule and functionality to enhance selectivity to the other. A compound from this series demonstrated rat oral bioavailability and efficacy in a bovine articular cartilage explant model.
    Article · Oct 2005 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • Frank Lovering · Yvonne Angell · Yan-Ling Zhang · Kristie Bridges
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an effort to identify new approaches to lead discovery a polyvalent assay was developed to allow identification of weak inhibitors. This approach involves the polyvalent display of a protein binder off a Tenta-gel scaffold and the generation of a polyvalent display of protein by biotinylation followed by complexation with fluorescently labeled streptavidin. Subsequent exposure of the streptavidin complexed protein to Tenta-gel beads with active protein binders results in fluorescent beads, which are easily viewed under a fluorescent microscope.
    Article · Nov 2004 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new series of bis-statine based peptidomimetic inhibitors of human beta-secretase (BACE 1) was developed by structure-based modification of the three regions to the initial lead 3: an N-terminus, a central bis-statine core, and a C-terminus. Introduction of a 4-aminomethylbenzoic acid on the C-terminus resulted in a potent BACE 1 inhibitor with an IC50 value of 21 nM. The general requirements for the optimal substrate-enzyme interaction are disclosed herein.
    Article · Aug 2004 · Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • YH Hu · J Thomason · JC McKew · [...] · S Tam
    Conference Paper · Mar 2004