Robert J. DeVita

Merck, Whitehouse Station, NJ, United States

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Publications (48)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disclosed are the compounds of the Formula (I) as well as pharmaceutically acceptable salts thereof, which are useful for treating aldosterone-mediated diseases. The processes for preparing compounds of the Formula (I), the use for the therapy and prophylaxis of the abovementioned diseases and for preparing pharmaceuticals for this purpose, and the pharmaceutical compositions which comprise compounds of the formula (I) are disclosed too.
    Patent · Jan 2015
  • Shuwen He · Qingmei Hong · Zhong Lai · [...] · Robert J DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of a novel series of DGAT1 inhibitors in the benzimidazole class with a piperdinyl-oxy-cyclohexanecarboxylic acid moiety. This novel series possesses significantly improved selectivity against the A2A receptor, no ACAT1 off-target activity at 10 μM, and higher aqueous solubility and free fraction in plasma as compared to the previously reported pyridyl-oxy-cyclohexanecarboxylic acid series. In particular, 5B was shown to possess an excellent selectivity profile by screening it against a panel of more than 100 biological targets. Compound 5B significantly reduces lipid excursion in LTT in mouse and rat, demonstrates DGAT1 mediated reduction of food intake and body weight in mice, is negative in a 3-strain Ames test, and appears to distribute preferentially in the liver and the intestine in mice. We believe this lead series possesses significant potential to identify optimized compounds for clinical development.
    Article · Oct 2014 · ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • Harry R. Chobanian · Yan Guo · Ping Liu · [...] · Robert J. DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report herein the identification of MK-4409, a potent and selective fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor. Starting from a high throughput screening (HTS) hit, medicinal chemistry efforts focused on optimizing of FAAH inhibition in vitro potency, improving the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile, and increasing in vivo efficacy in rodent inflammatory and neuropathic pain assays.
    Article · Apr 2014 · ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present invention is directed to certain oxazole derivatives which are useful as inhibitors of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH). The invention is also concerned with pharmaceutical formulations comprising these compounds as active ingredients and the use of the compounds and their formulations in the treatment of certain disorders, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, skeletomuscular pain, and fibromyalgia, as well as acute pain, migraine, sleep disorder, Alzheimer Disease, and Parkinson's Disease.
    Patent · Mar 2014
  • Ping Liu · Robert J. DeVita · Linus S. Lin · [...] · Wenping Li
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present invention is directed to certain Inidazole derivatives which are useful as modulators of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and as FAAH imaging agents. The invention is also concerned with pharmaceutical formulations comprising these compounds as active ingredients and the use of the compounds and their formulations in the treatment of certain disorders, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, skeletomuscular pain, and fibromyalgia, as well as acute pain, migraine, sleep disorder, Alzeimer Disease, and Parkinson's Disease.
    Patent · Mar 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibition of Diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) has been a mechanism of interest for metabolic disorders. DGAT1 inhibition has been shown to be a key regulator in an array of metabolic pathways; however, based on the DGAT1 KO mouse phenotype the anticipation is that pharmacological inhibition of DGAT1 could potentially lead to skin related adverse effects. One of the aims in developing small molecule DGAT1 inhibitors that target key metabolic tissues is to avoid activity on skin-localized DGAT1 enzyme. In this report we describe a modeling-based approach to identify molecules with physical properties leading to differential exposure distribution. In addition, we demonstrate histological and RNA based biomarker approaches that can detect sebaceous gland atrophy pre-clinically that could be used as potential biomarkers in a clinical setting.
    Full-text Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
  • Robert J Devita · Shirly Pinto
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) has recently become a highly interesting target for metabolic disorders as well as for hepatitis C virus (HCV). DGAT1 processes diacylglycerol to triglycerides in the final step of re-synthesis for the absorption of fat across the intestine. Pharmaceutical companies have developed many novel inhibitors of DGAT1, several of which have reached the clinic. Proof of target engagement was achieved with the observation of reduced triglycerides upon treatment of humans with DGAT1 inhibitors, however there were gastrointestinal adverse events such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. These adverse events have been reported with multiple compounds and are possibly linked to the target due the recent identification of a human cohort deficient in DGAT1. Clinical studies are continuing in a trial to treat patients with an orphan indication for Familial Chylomicronaemia. The full potential of DGAT1 as a therapeutic target will need to overcome observed clinical adverse events, which are possibly mechanism based. The widespread use of DGAT1 inhibitors will ultimately depend upon a better understanding of how to improve the GI tolerability of these agents.
    Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hydroisoindoline 2 has been previously identified as a potent, brain-penetrant NK1 receptor antagonist with a long duration of action and improved profile of CYP3A4 inhibition and induction as compared to Aprepitant. However, compound 2 is predicted, based on data in preclinical species, to have a human half-life longer than 40 h, and likely to have drug-drug-interactions (DDI) as 2 is a victim of CYP3A4 inhibition caused by its exclusive clearance pathway via CYP3A4 oxidation in humans. We now report 2-[(3aR,4R,5S,7aS)-5-{(1S)-1-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-2-hydroxyethoxy}-4-(2-methylphenyl)octahydro-2H-isoindol-2-yl]-1,3-oxazol-4(5H)-one (3) as a next generation NK1 antagonist which possesses an additional clearance pathway through glucuronidation in addition to that via CYP3A4 oxidation. Compound 3 has a much lower propensity for drug-drug interactions and a reduced estimated human half-life consistent with once daily dosing. In preclinical species, compound 3 has demonstrated potency, brain penetration, and a safety profile similar to 2, as well as excellent pharmacokinetics.
    Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Ping Liu · Terence G Hamill · Marc Chioda · [...] · Robert J DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report herein the discovery of a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) positron emission tomography (PET) tracer. Starting from a pyrazole lead, medicinal chemistry efforts directed toward reducing lipophilicity led to the synthesis of a series of imidazole analogues. Compound 6 was chosen for further profiling due to its appropriate physical chemical properties and excellent FAAH inhibition potency across species. [(11)C]-6 (MK-3168) exhibited good brain uptake and FAAH-specific signal in rhesus monkeys and is a suitable PET tracer for imaging FAAH in the brain.
    Article · Jun 2013 · ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • Shuwen He · Qingmei Hong · Zhong Lai · [...] · Robert J. DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the design and synthesis of a series of novel DGAT1 inhibitors in the benzimidazole class with a pyridyl-oxy-cyclohexanecarboxylic acid moiety. In particular, compound 11A is a potent DGAT1 inhibitor with excellent selectivity against ACAT1. Compound 11A significantly reduces triglyceride excursion in lipid tolerance tests (LTT) in both mice and dogs at low plasma exposure. An in vivo study in mice with des-fluoro analogue 10A indicates that this series of compounds appears to distribute in intestine preferentially over plasma. The propensity to target intestine over plasma could be advantageous in reducing potential side effects since lower circulating levels of drug are required for efficacy. However, in the preclinical species, compound 11A undergoes cis/trans epimerization in vivo, which could complicate further development due to the presence of an active metabolite.
    Article · Jun 2013 · ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
  • Timothy Cernak · Kevin Dykstra · Dorothy Levorse · [...] · Robert DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The syntheses of four new spiropiperidines designed as polar analogs of methyl 2-(3-azaspiro[5.5]undecan-9-yl)acetate are described.
    Article · Nov 2011 · Tetrahedron Letters
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of stable isotopically labeled substrates and analysis by mass spectrometry have provided substantial insight into rates of synthesis, disposition, and utilization of lipids in vivo. The information to be gained from such studies is of particular benefit to therapeutic research where the underlying causes of disease may be related to the production and utilization of lipids. When studying biology through the use of isotope tracers, care must be exercised in interpreting the data to ensure that any response observed can truly be interpreted as biological and not as an artifact of the experimental design or a dilutional effect on the isotope. We studied the effects of dosing route and tracer concentration on the mass isotopomer distribution profile as well as the action of selective inhibitors of microsomal tri-glyceride transfer protein (MTP) in mice and diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) in nonhuman primates, using a stable-isotopically labeled approach. Subjects were treated with inhibitor and subsequently given a dose of uniformly ¹³C-labeled oleic acid. Samples were analyzed using a rapid LC-MS technique, allowing the effects of the intervention on the assembly and disposition of triglycerides, cholesteryl esters, and phospholipids to be determined in a single 3 min run from just 10 μl of plasma.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Lipid Research
  • Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Labelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Robert J. DeVita · Mark T. Goulet · Matthew J. Wyvratt · [...] · Roy G. Smith
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    Article · Dec 2010 · ChemInform
  • Kobporn L Howell · Robert J DeVita · Margarita Garcia-Calvo · [...] · Sander G Mills
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ezetimibe (Zetia®), a cholesterol-absorption inhibitor (CAI) approved by the FDA for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, is believed to target the intestine protein Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) or its pathway. A spiroimidazolidinone NPC1L1 inhibitor identified by virtual screening showed moderate binding activity but was not efficacious in an in vivo rodent model of cholesterol absorption. Synthesis of analogs established the structure-activity relationships for binding activity, and resulted in compounds with in vivo efficacy, including 24, which inhibited plasma cholesterol absorption by 67% in the mouse, thereby providing proof-of-concept that non-β-lactams can be effective CAIs.
    Article · Oct 2010 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • Gregori J Morriello · Gary Chicchi · Tricia Johnson · [...] · Robert J Devita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously, we had disclosed a novel class of hNK(1) antagonists based on the 5,5-fused pyrrolidine core. These compounds displayed subnanomolar hNK(1) affinity along with good efficacy in a gerbil foot-tapping (GFT) model, but unfortunately they had low to moderate functional antagonist (IP-1) activity. To elaborate on the SAR of this class of hNK(1) compounds and to improve functional activity, we have designed and synthesized a new class of hNK(1) antagonist with a third fused ring. Compared to the 5,5-fused pyrrolidine class, these 5,5,5-fused tricyclic hNK(1) antagonists maintain subnanomolar hNK(1) binding affinity with highly improved functional IP-1 activity (<10% SP remaining). A fused tricyclic methyl, hydroxyl geminally substituted pyrrolizinone (compound 20) had excellent functional IP (<2% SP remaining), hNK(1) binding affinity, off-target selectivity, pharmacokinetic profile and in vivo activity. Complete inhibition of agonist activity was observed at both 0 and 24h in the gerbil foot-tapping model with an ID(50) of 0.02 mpk at both 0 and 24h, respectively.
    Article · Oct 2010 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • Gregori J Morriello · Sander G Mills · Tricia Johnson · [...] · Robert J DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work on human NK(1) (hNK(1)) antagonists in which the core of the structure is a 5,5-fused pyrrolizinone has been disclosed. The structural-activity-relationship studies on simple alpha- and beta-substituted compounds of this series provided several potent and bioavailable hNK(1) antagonists that displayed excellent brain penetration as observed by their good efficacy in the gerbil foot-tapping (GFT) model assay. Several of these compounds exhibited 100% inhibition of the foot-tapping response at 0.1 and 24h with ID(50)'s of less than 1 mpk. One particular alpha-substituted compound (2b) had an excellent pharmacokinetic profile across preclinical species with reasonable in vivo functional activity and minimal ancillary activity.
    Article · Mar 2010 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • Jianming Bao · Huagang Lu · Gregori J Morriello · [...] · Robert J DeVita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new class of potent NK(1) receptor antagonists with a tetrahydroindolizinone core has been identified. This series of compounds demonstrated improved functional activities as compared to previously identified 5,5-fused pyrrolidine lead structures. SAR at the 7-position of the tetrahydroindolizinone core is discussed in detail. A number of compounds displayed high NK(1) receptor occupancy at both 1 h and 24 h in a gerbil foot tapping model. Compound 40 has high NK(1) binding affinity, good selectivity for other NK receptors and promising in vivo properties. It also has clean P(450) inhibition and hPXR induction profiles.
    Article · Feb 2010 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During our effort to design a receptor binding assay to aid in the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of ezetimibe, we prepared a sulfur-35 containing radioligand which exhibits improved potency over the glucuronide conjugate of ezetimibe in both native enterocyte brush border membranes and membranes from cells expressing recombinant NPC1L1. Herein, we describe the different synthetic strategies which were used to obtain this compound as well as its effectiveness in the aforementioned assay.
    Article · Aug 2009 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
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    Daniel R McMasters · Margarita Garcia-Calvo · Vladimir Maiorov · [...] · Robert J Devita
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of spiroimidazolidinone NPC1L1 inhibitors was discovered by virtual screening of the Merck corporate sample repository using 3D-similarity-based screening. Selection of 330 compounds for testing in an in vitro NPC1L1 binding assay yielded six hits in six distinct chemical series. Follow-up 2D similarity searching yielded several sub- to low-micromolar leads; among these was spiroimidazolidinone 10, with an IC(50) of 2.5 microM. Compound 10 provided a useful scaffold to initiate a medicinal chemistry campaign.
    Full-text Article · Jul 2009 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters