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J Med Chem. 2009 Oct 22;52(20):6314-23. doi: 10.1021/jm9006752.

Aminoimidazoles as potent and selective human beta-secretase (BACE1) inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Sciences, Wyeth Research, CN 8000, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-8000, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Med Chem. 2010 Feb 25;53(4):1882.


The identification of small molecule aminoimidazoles as potent and selective human beta-secretase inhibitors is reported. These analogues demonstrate low nannomolar potency for BACE1 in a FRET assay, exhibit comparable activity in a cell-based (ELISA) assay, and show >100x selectivity for the other structurally related aspartyl proteases BACE2, cathepsin D, renin, and pepsin. Our design strategy was supported by molecular modeling studies based on the cocrystal structure of the HTS-hit 3 in the BACE1 active site. These strategies enabled us to integrate pyridine and pyrimidine groups on 3 extending deep into the S3 region of the BACE1 binding pocket and enhancing the ligand's potency. Compound (R)-37 displayed an IC50 value for BACE1 of 20 nM, cellular activity of 90 nM, and >100-fold selectivity over related aspartyl proteases. Acute oral administration of (R)-37 at 30 mg/kg resulted in a significant 71% reduction of plasma Abeta40 measured at the 6 h time point in a Tg2576 mouse model (p < 0.001).

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