Author(s): Capek P, Zhang Y, Barlow DJ, Houseknecht KL, Smith GR,
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Abstract Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), the etiological agent that causes the neuroparalytic disease botulism, has become a highly studied drug target in light of the potential abuse of this toxin as a weapon of bioterrorism. In particular, small molecule inhibitors of the light chain metalloprotease of BoNT serotype A have received significant attention and a number of small molecule and biologic inhibitors have been reported. However, all small molecules reported have been identified from either primary screens or medicinal chemistry follow-up studies, and the pharmacokinetic profiles of these compounds have not been addressed. In this study, we have removed the pharmacologic liabilities of one of the best compounds reported to date, 2,4-dichlorocinnamate hydroxamic acid, and in the process, uncovered a related class of benzothiophene hydroxamic acids that are significantly more potent inhibitors of the BoNT/A light chain, while also possessing greatly improved ADME properties, with the best compound showing the most potent inhibition of BoNT/A light chain reported (K(i) = 77 nM). Using a strategy of incorporating traditional drug development filters early into the discovery process, potential liabilities in BoNT/A lead compounds have been illuminated and removed, clearing the path for advancement into further pharmacologic optimization and in vivo efficacy testing.
This article was published in ACS Chem Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense