Publications by authors named "Nicholas I Carruthers"

74 Publications

Discovery and SAR studies of 2-alkyl-3-phenyl-2,4,5,6,7,8-hexahydropyrazolo[3,4-d]azepines as 5-HT inhibitors leading to the identification of a clinical candidate.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2021 01 7;31:127669. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.

We report here the synthesis and characterization of a dual 5-HT / 5-HT receptor antagonist 3-(4-Fluoro-phenyl)-2-isopropyl-2,4,5,6,7,8-hexahydro-1,2,6-triaza-azulene (4j). 4j is a high affinity 5-HT and 5-HT receptor ligand having a pK = 8.1 at both receptors. It behaves as an antagonist in an in vitro functional assay for 5-HT and as an inverse agonist in an in vitro functional assay for 5-HT. In a validated in vivo model for central 5-HT activity in rats, blockade of 5-carboxamidotryptamine (5-CT) induced hypothermia, 4j shows efficacy at low doses (ED = 0.05 mg/kg, p.o., 1 h) and maximal efficacy was observed at 0.3 mg/kg p.o. with a corresponding plasma concentration of ~27 ng/ml. In a validated in vivo model for central 5-HT activity, blockade of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) induced head-twitches in mice, 4j shows efficacy at low doses with an ED = 0.3 mg/kg p.o. Ex vivo receptor binding studies demonstrate that 4j occupied 5-HT receptor binding sites in the frontal cortex of the rat brain with an ED in good agreement with the ED value for central functional effect mediated by 5-HT receptor (ED = 0.8 mg/kg, p.o., 1 h).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2020.127669DOI Listing
January 2021

Substituted Azabicyclo[2.2.1]heptanes as Selective Orexin-1 Antagonists: Discovery of JNJ-54717793.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2020 Oct 27;11(10):2002-2009. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Janssen Research & Development L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

The orexin system consists of two neuropeptides (orexin-A and orexin-B) that exert their mode of action on two receptors (orexin-1 and orexin-2). While the role of the orexin-2 receptor is established as an important modulator of sleep wake states, the role of the orexin-1 receptor is believed to play a role in addiction, panic, or anxiety. In this manuscript, we describe the optimization of a nonselective substituted azabicyclo[2.2.1]heptane dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA) into orally bioavailable, brain penetrating, selective orexin-1 receptor (OX1R) antagonists. This resulted in the discovery of our first candidate for clinical development, JNJ-54717793.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.0c00085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7549262PMC
October 2020

Copper-mediated synthesis of drug-like bicyclopentanes.

Nature 2020 04 17;580(7802):220-226. Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Merck Center for Catalysis at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.

Multicomponent reactions are relied on in both academic and industrial synthetic organic chemistry owing to their step- and atom-economy advantages over traditional synthetic sequences. Recently, bicyclo[1.1.1]pentane (BCP) motifs have become valuable as pharmaceutical bioisosteres of benzene rings, and in particular 1,3-disubstituted BCP moieties have become widely adopted in medicinal chemistry as para-phenyl ring replacements. These structures are often generated from [1.1.1]propellane via opening of the internal C-C bond through the addition of either radicals or metal-based nucleophiles. The resulting propellane-addition adducts are then transformed to the requisite polysubstituted BCP compounds via a range of synthetic sequences that traditionally involve multiple chemical steps. Although this approach has been effective so far, a multicomponent reaction that enables single-step access to complex and diverse polysubstituted drug-like BCP products would be more time efficient compared to current stepwise approaches. Here we report a one-step three-component radical coupling of [1.1.1]propellane to afford diverse functionalized bicyclopentanes using various radical precursors and heteroatom nucleophiles via a metallaphotoredox catalysis protocol. This copper-mediated reaction operates on short timescales (five minutes to one hour) across multiple (more than ten) nucleophile classes and can accommodate a diverse array of radical precursors, including those that generate alkyl, α-acyl, trifluoromethyl and sulfonyl radicals. This method has been used to rapidly prepare BCP analogues of known pharmaceuticals, one of which is substantially more metabolically stable than its commercial progenitor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2060-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7148169PMC
April 2020

Discovery of Imidazo[1,2-]pyrazines and Pyrazolo[1,5-]pyrimidines as TARP γ-8 Selective AMPAR Negative Modulators.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2019 Mar 26;10(3):267-272. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

Janssen Research & Development L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121 United States.

This report discloses the discovery and characterization of imidazo[1,2-]pyrazines and pyrazolo[1,5-]pyrimidines as selective negative modulators of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptors (AMPARs) associated with transmembrane AMPAR regulatory protein γ-8. Imidazopyrazine was initially identified as a promising γ-8 selective high-throughput screening hit, and subsequent structure-activity relationship optimization yielded subnanomolar, brain penetrant leads. Replacement of the imidazopyrazine core with an isosteric pyrazolopyrimidine scaffold improved microsomal stability and efflux liabilities to provide , JNJ-61432059. Following oral administration, exhibited time- and dose-dependent AMPAR/γ-8 receptor occupancy in mouse hippocampus, which resulted in robust seizure protection in corneal kindling and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) anticonvulsant models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00599DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421542PMC
March 2019

1-Pyrrolo[3,2-]pyridine GluN2B-Selective Negative Allosteric Modulators.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2019 Mar 10;10(3):261-266. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121-1126, United States.

Herein, we disclose a series of selective GluN2B negative allosteric modulators containing a 1-pyrrolo[3,2-]pyridine core. Lead optimization efforts included increasing brain penetration as well as decreasing cytochrome P450 inhibition and hERG channel binding. The series was also optimized to reduce metabolic turnover in human and rat. Compounds , , , and have good in vitro GluN2B potency and good predicted absorption, but moderate to high projected clearance. They were assessed in vivo to determine their target engagement. All four compounds achieved >75% receptor occupancy after an oral dose of 10 mg/kg in rat. Compound receptor occupancy was measured in a dose-response experiment, and its ED was found to be 2.0 mg/kg.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421534PMC
March 2019

Allosteric Modulation of Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors Special Issue.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2019 Mar 14;10(3):226. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421527PMC
March 2019

Lead Optimization of 5-Aryl Benzimidazolone- and Oxindole-Based AMPA Receptor Modulators Selective for TARP γ-8.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2018 Aug 13;9(8):821-826. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

Janssen Research & Development L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

Glutamate mediates fast excitatory neurotransmission via ionotropic α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors. The trafficking and gating properties of AMPA receptors (AMPARs) can be amplified by transmembrane AMPAR regulatory proteins (TARPs), which are often expressed in localized brain regions. Herein, we describe the discovery, lead optimization, and preclinical characterization of 5-arylbenzimidazolone and oxindole-based negative modulators of AMPARs associated with TARP γ-8, the primary TARP found in hippocampus. High-throughput screen lead was optimized for potency and brain penetration to provide benzimidazolone , JNJ-55511118.1 Replacement of the benzimidazolone core in with an oxindole mitigated reactive metabolite formation and led to the identification of (GluA1/γ-8 pIC = 9.7). Following oral dosing in rats, demonstrated robust target engagement in hippocampus as assessed by autoradiography (ED = 0.6 mg/kg, plasma EC = 9 ng/mL).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088354PMC
August 2018

Allosteric Modulation of Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors Special Issue.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2018 May 10;9(5):398-399. Epub 2018 May 10.

Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, United States.

Call for papers! is now accepting manuscript submissions for a special issue entitled "Allosteric Modulation of Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors". This special issue is a cross-thematic issue with and . The special issue is scheduled for publication in early 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949834PMC
May 2018

A Dipolar Cycloaddition Reaction To Access 6-Methyl-4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1H-[1,2,3]triazolo[4,5-c]pyridines Enables the Discovery Synthesis and Preclinical Profiling of a P2X7 Antagonist Clinical Candidate.

J Med Chem 2018 01 20;61(1):207-223. Epub 2017 Dec 20.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

A single pot dipolar cycloaddition reaction/Cope elimination sequence was developed to access novel 1,4,6,7-tetrahydro-5H-[1,2,3]triazolo[4,5-c]pyridine P2X7 antagonists that contain a synthetically challenging chiral center. The structure-activity relationships of the new compounds are described. Two of these compounds, (S)-(2-fluoro-3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)(1-(5-fluoropyrimidin-2-yl)-6-methyl-1,4,6,7-tetrahydro-5H-[1,2,3]triazolo[4,5-c]pyridin-5-yl)methanone (compound 29) and (S)-(3-fluoro-2-(trifluoromethyl)pyridin-4-yl)(1-(5-fluoropyrimidin-2-yl)-6-methyl-1,4,6,7-tetrahydro-5H-[1,2,3]triazolo[4,5-c]pyridin-5-yl)methanone (compound 35), were found to have robust P2X7 receptor occupancy at low doses in rat with ED values of 0.06 and 0.07 mg/kg, respectively. Compound 35 had notable solubility compared to 29 and showed good tolerability in preclinical species. Compound 35 was chosen as a clinical candidate for advancement into phase I clinical trials to assess safety and tolerability in healthy human subjects prior to the initiation of proof of concept studies for the treatment of mood disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b01279DOI Listing
January 2018

4-Methyl-6,7-dihydro-4H-triazolo[4,5-c]pyridine-Based P2X7 Receptor Antagonists: Optimization of Pharmacokinetic Properties Leading to the Identification of a Clinical Candidate.

J Med Chem 2017 06 25;60(11):4559-4572. Epub 2017 May 25.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

The synthesis and preclinical characterization of novel 4-(R)-methyl-6,7-dihydro-4H-triazolo[4,5-c]pyridines that are potent and selective brain penetrant P2X7 antagonists are described. Optimization efforts based on previously disclosed unsubstituted 6,7-dihydro-4H-triazolo[4,5-c]pyridines, methyl substituted 5,6,7,8-tetrahydro[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazines, and several other series lead to the identification of a series of 4-(R)-methyl-6,7-dihydro-4H-triazolo[4,5-c]pyridines that are selective P2X7 antagonists with potency at the rodent and human P2X7 ion channels. These novel P2X7 antagonists have suitable physicochemical properties, and several analogs have an excellent pharmacokinetic profile, good partitioning into the CNS and show robust in vivo target engagement after oral dosing. Improvements in metabolic stability led to the identification of JNJ-54175446 (14) as a candidate for clinical development. The drug discovery efforts and strategies that resulted in the identification of the clinical candidate are described herein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b00408DOI Listing
June 2017

Identification of (R)-(2-Chloro-3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)(1-(5-fluoropyridin-2-yl)-4-methyl-6,7-dihydro-1H-imidazo[4,5-c]pyridin-5(4H)-yl)methanone (JNJ 54166060), a Small Molecule Antagonist of the P2X7 receptor.

J Med Chem 2016 09 8;59(18):8535-48. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121 United States.

The synthesis and SAR of a series of 4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-imidazo[4,5-c]pyridine P2X7 antagonists are described. Addressing P2X7 affinity and liver microsomal stability issues encountered with this template afforded methyl substituted 4,5,6,7-tetrahydro-imidazo[4,5-c]pyridines ultimately leading to the identification of 1 (JNJ 54166060). 1 is a potent P2X7 antagonist with an ED50 = 2.3 mg/kg in rats, high oral bioavailability and low-moderate clearance in preclinical species, acceptable safety margins in rats, and a predicted human dose of 120 mg of QD. Additionally, 1 possesses a unique CYP profile and was found to be a regioselective inhibitor of midazolam CYP3A metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00989DOI Listing
September 2016

Reply to "A Comment on 'Discovery and Characterization of AMPA Receptor Modulators Selective for TARP-γ8'".

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2016 09;358(3):527

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Neuroscience Therapeutic Area, San Diego, California.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.116.234815DOI Listing
September 2016

Discovery and Characterization of AMPA Receptor Modulators Selective for TARP-γ8.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2016 May 17;357(2):394-414. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Janssen Research and Development, LLC, Neuroscience Therapeutic Area, San Diego, California (M.P.M., N.W., S.R., M.K.A., B.M.S., C.L., B.L., R.M.W., J.A.M., C.D., S.Y., A.D.W., N.I.C., T.W.L.); and Janssen Research and Development, a Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Neuroscience Therapeutic Area, Beerse, Belgium (L.V.D., T.S.).

Members of the α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA) subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptors mediate the majority of fast synaptic transmission within the mammalian brain and spinal cord, representing attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we describe novel AMPA receptor modulators that require the presence of the accessory protein CACNG8, also known as transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory protein γ8 (TARP-γ8). Using calcium flux, radioligand binding, and electrophysiological assays of wild-type and mutant forms of TARP-γ8, we demonstrate that these compounds possess a novel mechanism of action consistent with a partial disruption of the interaction between the TARP and the pore-forming subunit of the channel. One of the molecules, 5-[2-chloro-6-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl]-1,3-dihydrobenzimidazol-2-one (JNJ-55511118), had excellent pharmacokinetic properties and achieved high receptor occupancy following oral administration. This molecule showed strong, dose-dependent inhibition of neurotransmission within the hippocampus, and a strong anticonvulsant effect. At high levels of receptor occupancy in rodent in vivo models, JNJ-55511118 showed a strong reduction in certain bands on electroencephalogram, transient hyperlocomotion, no motor impairment on rotarod, and a mild impairment in learning and memory. JNJ-55511118 is a novel tool for reversible AMPA receptor inhibition, particularly within the hippocampus, with potential therapeutic utility as an anticonvulsant or neuroprotectant. The existence of a molecule with this mechanism of action demonstrates the possibility of pharmacological targeting of accessory proteins, increasing the potential number of druggable targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.115.231712DOI Listing
May 2016

Substituted 5,6-(Dihydropyrido[3,4-d]pyrimidin-7(8H)-yl)-methanones as P2X7 Antagonists.

ACS Chem Neurosci 2016 Apr 19;7(4):498-504. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Janssen Research & Development L.L.C. , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

We describe the synthesis of a novel class of brain penetrating P2X7 antagonists with high potency at both the rat and human P2X7 receptors. Disclosed herein are druglike molecules with demonstrated target engagement of the rat P2X7 receptors after an oral dose. Specifically, compound 20 occupied the P2X7 receptors >80% over the 6 h time course as measured by an ex vivo radioligand binding experiment. In a dose-response assay, this molecule has a plasma EC50 of 8 ng/mL. Overall, 20 has suitable druglike properties and pharmacokinetics in rat and dog. This molecule and others disclosed herein will serve as additional tools to elucidate the role of the P2X7 receptor in neuropsychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.5b00304DOI Listing
April 2016

Novel Phenyl-Substituted 5,6-Dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazine P2X7 Antagonists with Robust Target Engagement in Rat Brain.

ACS Chem Neurosci 2016 Apr 15;7(4):490-7. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121-1126, United States.

Novel 5,6-dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazine P2X7 antagonists were optimized to allow for good blood-brain barrier permeability and high P2X7 target engagement in the brain of rats. Compound 25 (huP2X7 IC50 = 9 nM; rat P2X7 IC50 = 42 nM) achieved 80% receptor occupancy for 6 h when dosed orally at 10 mg/kg in rats as measured by ex vivo radioligand binding autoradiography. Structure-activity relationships within this series are described, as well as in vitro ADME results. In vivo pharmacokinetic data for key compounds is also included.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.5b00303DOI Listing
April 2016

Preclinical characterization of substituted 6,7-dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazin-8(5H)-one P2X7 receptor antagonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2016 Jan 17;26(2):257-261. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Research & Development L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.

The synthesis, SAR, and preclinical characterization of a series of substituted 6,7-dihydro[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3]pyrazin-8(5H)-one P2X7 receptor antagonists are described. Optimized leads from this series comprise some of the most potent human P2X7R antagonists reported to date (IC50s<1nM). They also exhibit sufficient potency and oral bioavailability in rat to enable extensive in vivo profiling. Although many of the disclosed compounds are peripherally restricted, compound 11d is brain penetrant and upon oral administration demonstrated dose-dependent target engagement in rat hippocampus as determined by ex vivo receptor occupancy with radiotracer 5 (ED50=0.8mg/kg).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.12.052DOI Listing
January 2016

Identification and SAR of Glycine Benzamides as Potent Agonists for the GPR139 Receptor.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2015 Sep 20;6(9):1015-8. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , San Diego, California 92121, United States.

A focused high throughput screening for GPR139 was completed for a select 100K compounds, and new agonist leads were identified. Subsequent analysis and structure-activity relationship studies identified (S)-3-chloro-N-(2-oxo-2-((1-phenylethyl)amino)ethyl)benzamide 7c as a potent and selective agonist of hGPR139 with an EC50 = 16 nM. The compound was found to cross the blood-brain barrier and have good drug-like properties amenable for oral dosing in rat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.5b00247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4569879PMC
September 2015

A novel radioligand for the ATP-gated ion channel P2X7: [3H] JNJ-54232334.

Eur J Pharmacol 2015 Oct 18;765:551-9. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Neuroscience Drug Discovery, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121-1126, United States.

The ATP-gated ion channel P2X7 has emerged as a potential central nervous system (CNS) drug target based on the hypotheses that pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β that are released by microglia, may contribute to the etiology of various disorders of the CNS including depression. In this study, we identified two closely related P2X7 antagonists, JNJ-54232334 and JNJ-54140515, and then tritium labeled the former to produce a new radioligand for P2X7. JNJ-54232334 is a high affinity ligand for the rat P2X7 with a pKi of 9.3±0.1. In rat cortical membranes, [3H] JNJ-54232334 reached saturable binding with equilibrium dissociation (Kd) constant of 4.9±1.3 nM. The compound displayed monophasic association and dissociation kinetics with fast on and off rates. In rat brain sections, specific binding of [3H] JNJ-54232334 was markedly improved compared to the previously described P2X7 radioligand, [3H] A-804598. In P2X7 knockout mouse brain sections, [3H] A-804598 bound to non-P2X7 binding sites in contrast to [3H] JNJ-54232334. In rat or wild type mouse brain sections [3H] JNJ-54232334 bound in a more homogenous and region independent manner. The ubiquitous expression of P2X7 receptors was confirmed with immunohistochemistry in rat brain sections. The partial displacement of [3H] A-804598 binding resulted in the underestimation of the level of ex vivo P2X7 occupancy for JNJ-54140515. Higher levels of P2X7 ex vivo occupancy were measured using [3H] JNJ-54232334 due to less non-specific binding. In summary, we describe [3H] JNJ-54232334 as a novel P2X7 radioligand, with improved properties over [3H] A-804598.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.09.026DOI Listing
October 2015

Characterization of JNJ-42847922, a Selective Orexin-2 Receptor Antagonist, as a Clinical Candidate for the Treatment of Insomnia.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2015 Sep 15;354(3):471-82. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, San Diego, California

Dual orexin receptor antagonists have been shown to promote sleep in various species, including humans. Emerging research indicates that selective orexin-2 receptor (OX2R) antagonists may offer specificity and a more adequate sleep profile by preserving normal sleep architecture. Here, we characterized JNJ-42847922 ([5-(4,6-dimethyl-pyrimidin-2-yl)-hexahydro-pyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrol-2-yl]-(2-fluoro-6-[1,2,3]triazol-2-yl-phenyl)-methanone), a high-affinity/potent OX2R antagonist. JNJ-42847922 had an approximate 2-log selectivity ratio versus the human orexin-1 receptor. Ex vivo receptor binding studies demonstrated that JNJ-42847922 quickly occupied OX2R binding sites in the rat brain after oral administration and rapidly cleared from the brain. In rats, single oral administration of JNJ-42847922 (3-30 mg/kg) during the light phase dose dependently reduced the latency to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and prolonged NREM sleep time in the first 2 hours, whereas REM sleep was minimally affected. The reduced sleep onset and increased sleep duration were maintained upon 7-day repeated dosing (30 mg/kg) with JNJ-42847922, then all sleep parameters returned to baseline levels following discontinuation. Although the compound promoted sleep in wild-type mice, it had no effect in OX2R knockout mice, consistent with a specific OX2R-mediated sleep response. JNJ-42847922 did not increase dopamine release in rat nucleus accumbens or produce place preference in mice after subchronic conditioning, indicating that the compound lacks intrinsic motivational properties in contrast to zolpidem. In a single ascending dose study conducted in healthy subjects, JNJ-42847922 increased somnolence and displayed a favorable pharmacokinetic and safety profile for a sedative/hypnotic, thus emerging as a promising candidate for further clinical development for the treatment of insomnia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.115.225466DOI Listing
September 2015

Synthesis, SAR, and Pharmacological Characterization of Brain Penetrant P2X7 Receptor Antagonists.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2015 Jun 24;6(6):671-6. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

We describe the synthesis and SAR of 1,2,3-triazolopiperidines as a novel series of potent, brain penetrant P2X7 antagonists. Initial efforts yielded a series of potent human P2X7R antagonists with moderate to weak rodent potency, some CYP inhibition, poor metabolic stability, and low solubility. Further work in this series, which focused on the SAR of the N-linked heterocycle, not only increased the potency at the human P2X7R but also provided compounds with good potency at the rat P2X7R. These efforts eventually delivered a potent rat and human P2X7R antagonist with good physicochemical properties, an excellent pharmacokinetic profile, good partitioning into the CNS, and demonstrated in vivo target engagement after oral dosing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.5b00089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4468405PMC
June 2015

Novel methyl substituted 1-(5,6-dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazin-7(8H)-yl)methanones are P2X7 antagonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2015 Aug 9;25(16):3157-63. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Research & Development L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, United States. Electronic address:

The optimization efforts that led to a novel series of methyl substituted 1-(5,6-dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a]pyrazin-7(8H)-yl)methanones that are potent rat and human P2X7 antagonists are described. These efforts resulted in the discovery of compounds with good drug-like properties that are capable of high P2X7 receptor occupancy in rat following oral administration, including compounds 7n (P2X7 IC50 = 7.7 nM) and 7u (P2X7 IC50 =7 .7 nM). These compounds are expected to be useful tools for characterizing the effects of P2X7 antagonism in models of depression and epilepsy, and several of the compounds prepared are candidates for effective P2X7 PET tracers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.06.004DOI Listing
August 2015

Novel Octahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrroles Are Selective Orexin-2 Antagonists: SAR Leading to a Clinical Candidate.

J Med Chem 2015 Jul 8;58(14):5620-36. Epub 2015 Jul 8.

The preclinical characterization of novel octahydropyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrroles that are potent and selective orexin-2 antagonists is described. Optimization of physicochemical and DMPK properties led to the discovery of compounds with tissue distribution and duration of action suitable for evaluation in the treatment of primary insomnia. These selective orexin-2 antagonists are proven to promote sleep in rats, and this work ultimately led to the identification of a compound that progressed into human clinical trials for the treatment of primary insomnia. The synthesis, SAR, and optimization of the pharmacokinetic properties of this series of compounds as well as the identification of the clinical candidate, JNJ-42847922 (34), are described herein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b00742DOI Listing
July 2015

Novel benzamide-based histamine h3 receptor antagonists: the identification of two candidates for clinical development.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2015 Apr 13;6(4):450-4. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Company, a division of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development L.L.C. , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121, United States.

The preclinical characterization of novel phenyl(piperazin-1-yl)methanones that are histamine H3 receptor antagonists is described. The compounds described are high affinity histamine H3 antagonists. Optimization of the physical properties of these histamine H3 antagonists led to the discovery of several promising lead compounds, and extensive preclinical profiling aided in the identification of compounds with optimal duration of action for wake promoting activity. This led to the discovery of two development candidates for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ml5005156DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394347PMC
April 2015

The discovery of potent selective NPY Y(2) antagonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2013 Jul 22;23(14):4141-4. Epub 2013 May 22.

Janssen Research & Development LLC, 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

A series of small molecules with a piperidinyl core were synthesized and tested for binding affinity (IC50) at human Neuropeptide Y Y2 receptor. Various amide related analogs (ureas, reversed amides, and sulfonamides) were evaluated. Several potent and selective NPY Y2 antagonists were identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.05.038DOI Listing
July 2013

Synthesis and Pharmacological Characterization of Two Novel, Brain Penetrating P2X7 Antagonists.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2013 Apr 12;4(4):419-22. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Janssen Research and Development, LLC , 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, California 92121-1126, United States.

The synthesis and preclinical characterization of two novel, brain penetrating P2X7 compounds will be described. Both compounds are shown to be high potency P2X7 antagonists in human, rat, and mouse cell lines and both were shown to have high brain concentrations and robust receptor occupancy in rat. Compound 7 is of particular interest as a probe compound for the preclinical assessment of P2X7 blockade in animal models of neuro-inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ml400040vDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027403PMC
April 2013

Identification of Hydroxybenzoic Acids as Selective Lactate Receptor (GPR81) Agonists with Antilipolytic Effects.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2012 Aug 11;3(8):637-9. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC , San Diego, California 92121, United States.

Following the characterization of the lactate receptor (GPR81), a focused screening effort afforded 3-hydroxybenzoic acid 1 as a weak agonist of both GPR81 and GPR109a (niacin receptor). An examination of structurally similar arylhydroxy acids led to the identification of 3-chloro-5-hydroxybenzoic acid 2, a selective GPR81 agonist that exhibited favorable in vivo effects on lipolysis in a mouse model of obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ml3000676DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025785PMC
August 2012

Blockade of the brain histamine H3 receptor by JNJ-39220675: preclinical PET studies with [¹¹C]GSK189254 in anesthetized baboon.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2012 Oct 22;223(4):447-55. Epub 2012 May 22.

Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA.

Rationale: The preclinical characterization of a series of aryloxypyridine amides has identified JNJ-39220675 ((4-cyclobutyl-1,4-diazepan-1-yl)(6-(4-fluorophenoxy)pyridin-3-yl)methanone) as a high-affinity histamine H(3) receptor antagonist and a candidate for further drug development particularly in the treatment of alcohol-related behaviors.

Objective: This study measured brain histamine H(3) receptor blockade by JNJ-39220675 (1 mg/kg) in the female baboon.

Methods: Positron emission tomography imaging and [(11)C]GSK189254, a reversible high-affinity radiotracer with specificity for the histamine H(3) receptor, was used to measure histamine H(3) receptor availability at baseline and after i.v. and oral administration of JNJ-39220675 (1 mg/kg) in the anesthetized baboon. Histamine H(3) receptor availability was estimated as the total distribution volume (V (T)) in brain regions. The sensitivity of [(11)C]GSK189254 binding to injected mass and carryover effects was determined.

Results: JNJ-39220675 produces robust (ca. 90 %) blockade of [(11)C]GSK189254 binding after i.v. and oral administration. After oral administration of JNJ-39220675 (1 mg/kg), the fractional receptor occupancy was >0.9 at 90 min with a slight increase from 90 to 240 min. Similar to prior studies in humans, V (T) was highly sensitive to the mass of GSK189254 with ED(50) estimated to be 0.16 μg/kg.

Conclusions: The robust blockade of binding of [(11)C]GSK189254 by JNJ-39220675 demonstrates that this compound readily penetrates the blood-brain barrier and occupies the histamine H(3) receptor after oral administration at low plasma concentrations (∼1 ng/cc) supporting further drug development for alcohol addiction and other disorders. This study corroborates prior reports of the high sensitivity of [(11)C]GSK189254 to injected mass at doses >0.1 μg/kg.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2733-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3456925PMC
October 2012

The discovery and synthesis of JNJ 31020028, a small molecule antagonist of the Neuropeptide Y Y₂ receptor.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2011 Sep 18;21(18):5552-6. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C., 3210 Merryfield Row, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

A series of small molecules based on a chemotype identified from our compound collection were synthesized and tested for binding affinity (IC(50)) at the human Neuropeptide Y Y(2) receptor (NPY Y(2)). Six of the 23 analogs tested possessed an NPY Y(2) IC(50) ≤ 15 nM. One member of this series, JNJ 31020028, is a selective, high affinity, receptor antagonist existing as a racemic mixture. As such a synthetic route to the desired enantiomer was designed starting from commercially available (S)-(+)-mandelic acid.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.06.136DOI Listing
September 2011

Selective blockade of the orexin-2 receptor attenuates ethanol self-administration, place preference, and reinstatement.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2011 May 22;215(1):191-203. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

Neuroscience, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

Rationale: Orexin-1 receptor antagonists have been shown to block the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse and food. However, whether blockade of orexin-2 receptor has similar effects has not been determined. We have recently described the in vitro and in vivo effects of JNJ-10397049, a selective and brain penetrant orexin-2 receptor antagonist.

Objective: The goal of these studies was to evaluate whether systemic administration of JNJ-10397049 blocks the rewarding effects of ethanol and reverses ethanol withdrawal in rodents. As a comparison, SB-408124, a selective orexin-1 receptor antagonist, was also evaluated.

Methods: Rats were trained to orally self-administer ethanol (8% v/v) or saccharin (0.1% v/v) under a fixed-ratio 3 schedule of reinforcement. A separate group of rats received a liquid diet of ethanol (8% v/v) and withdrawal signs were evaluated 4 h after ethanol discontinuation. In addition, ethanol-induced increases in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens were tested. In separate experiments, the acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of conditioned place preference (CPP) were evaluated in mice.

Results: Our results indicate that JNJ-10397049 (1, 3, and 10 mg/kg, sc) dose-dependently reduced ethanol self-administration without changing saccharin self-administration, dopamine levels, or withdrawal signs in rats. Treatment with JNJ-10397049 (10 mg/kg, sc) attenuated the acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol CPP and ethanol-induced hyperactivity in mice. Surprisingly, SB-408124 (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg, sc) did not have any effect in these procedures.

Conclusions: Collectively, these results indicate, for the first time, that blockade of orexin-2 receptors is effective in reducing the reinforcing effects of ethanol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-2127-xDOI Listing
May 2011