J Med Chem 2014 Dec 20;57(23):9855-69. Epub 2014 Nov 20.
Drug Discovery Unit, Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee , Sir James Black Centre, Dundee DD1 5EH, U.K.
Trypanosoma brucei N-myristoyltransferase (TbNMT) is an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). From previous studies, we identified pyrazole sulfonamide, DDD85646 (1), a potent inhibitor of TbNMT. Although this compound represents an excellent lead, poor central nervous system (CNS) exposure restricts its use to the hemolymphatic form (stage 1) of the disease. With a clear clinical need for new drug treatments for HAT that address both the hemolymphatic and CNS stages of the disease, a chemistry campaign was initiated to address the shortfalls of this series. This paper describes modifications to the pyrazole sulfonamides which markedly improved blood-brain barrier permeability, achieved by reducing polar surface area and capping the sulfonamide. Moreover, replacing the core aromatic with a flexible linker significantly improved selectivity. This led to the discovery of DDD100097 (40) which demonstrated partial efficacy in a stage 2 (CNS) mouse model of HAT.