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Zhang W.,Northwestern University | Zhang W.,CAS Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry | Benmohamed R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Arvanites A.C.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | And 6 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2012

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons. Currently, there is only one FDA-approved treatment for ALS (riluzole), and that drug only extends life, on average, by 2-3 months. Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are found in familial forms of the disease and have played an important role in the study of ALS pathophysiology. On the basis of their activity in a PC12-G93A-YFP high-throughput screening assay, several bioactive compounds have been identified and classified as cyclohexane-1,3-dione (CHD) derivatives. A concise and efficient synthetic route has been developed to provide diverse CHD analogs. The structural modification of the CHD scaffold led to the discovery of a more potent analog (26) with an EC 50 of 700 nM having good pharmacokinetic properties, such as high solubility, low human and mouse metabolic potential, and relatively good plasma stability. It was also found to efficiently penetrate the blood-brain barrier. However, compound 26 did not exhibit any significant life span extension in the ALS mouse model. It was found that, although 26 was active in PC12 cells, it had poor activity in other cell types, including primary cortical neurons, indicating that it can penetrate into the brain, but is not active in neuronal cells, potentially due to poor selective cell penetration. Further structural modification of the CHD scaffold was aimed at improving global cell activity as well as maintaining potency. Two new analogs (71 and 73) were synthesized, which had significantly enhanced cortical neuronal cell permeability, as well as similar potency to that of 26 in the PC12-G93A assay. These CHD analogs are being investigated further as novel therapeutic candidates for ALS. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Zhang Y.,Northwestern University | Benmohamed R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Zhang W.,Northwestern University | Kim J.,University of Pittsburgh | And 9 more authors.
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2012

Cyclohexane 1,3-diones were identified as a class of molecules exhibiting a protective effect against mutant SOD1 induced toxicity in PC-12 cells, but an optimized analogue had little or no effect on life extension in the G93A SOD1 mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Additional testing showed that these compounds were inactive in neurons, and further analogue synthesis was carried out to identify compounds with neuronal activity. Starting from two racemic derivatives that were active in cortical neurons, two potent analogues (1b and 2b) were resolved, which were protective against mutant SOD1 induced toxicity in PC-12 cells. Both compounds were found to be active in cortical neurons and presented good ADME profiles in vitro. On the basis of these results, an ALS mouse trial with 1b was carried out, which showed slightly greater life extension than the FDA-approved ALS drug riluzole, thereby validating cyclohexane 1,3-diones as a novel therapeutic class for the treatment of ALS. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source


Trippier P.C.,Northwestern University | Benmohammed R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Kirsch D.R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Silverman R.B.,Northwestern University
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2012

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating and fatal neurodegenerative disease. Although the cause remains unknown, misfolded protein aggregates are seen in neurons of sporadic ALS patients, and familial ALS mutations, including mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), produce proteins with an increased propensity to misfold and aggregate. A structure activity relationship of a lead scaffold exhibiting neuroprotective activity in a G93A-SOD1 mouse model for ALS has been further investigated in a model PC12 cellular assay. Synthesis of biotinylated probes at the N1 nitrogen of the pyrazolone ring gave compounds (5d-e) that retained activity within 10-fold of the proton-bearing lead compound (5a) and were equipotent with a sterically less cumbersome N1-methyl substituted analogue (5b). However, when methyl substitution was introduced at N1 and N 2 of the pyrazolone ring, the compound was inactive (5c). These data led us to investigate further the pharmacophoric nature of the pyrazolone unit. A range of N1 substitutions were tolerated, leading to the identification of an N1-benzyl substituted pyrazolone (5m), equipotent with 5a. Substitution at N2 or excision of N2, however, removed all activity. Therefore, the hydrogen bond donating ability of the N2-H of the pyrazolone ring appears to be a critical part of the structure, which will influence further analogue synthesis. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Zhang Y.,Northwestern University | Benmohamed R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Huang H.,Northwestern University | Chen T.,Northwestern University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2013

The arylsulfanylpyrazolone and aryloxanylpyrazolone scaffolds previously were reported to inhibit Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 dependent protein aggregation and to extend survival in the ALS mouse model. However, further evaluation of these compounds indicated weak pharmacokinetic properties and a relatively low maximum tolerated dose. On the basis of an ADME analysis, a new series of compounds, the arylazanylpyrazolones, has been synthesized, and structure-activity relationships were determined. The SAR results showed that the pyrazolone ring is critical to cellular protection. The NMR, IR, and computational analyses suggest that phenol-type tautomers of the pyrazolone ring are the active pharmacophore with the arylazanylpyrazolone analogues. A comparison of experimental and calculated IR spectra is shown to be a valuable method to identify the predominant tautomer. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source


Xia G.,Northwestern University | Benmohamed R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Morimoto R.I.,Northwestern University | Kirsch D.R.,Cambria Pharmaceuticals | Silverman R.B.,Northwestern University
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2014

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness, paralysis, and death, most often from respiratory failure. Over 200 pyrimidine-2,4,6-trione (PYT) small molecules, which prevent aggregation and reduce the associated toxicity of mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) found in patients with familial ALS, have been synthesized and tested. One of the compounds (1,3-bis(2-phenylethyl)pyrimidine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione, (1) was previously found to have an excellent combination of potency efficacy, and some desirable pharmacokinetic properties. To improve the solubility and metabolic stability properties of this compound, deuterium and fluorine were introduced into 1. New analogs with better solubility, plasma stability, and human microsome stability were identified. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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