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J Med Chem. 2003 Oct 9;46(21):4533-42.

The discovery of tadalafil: a novel and highly selective PDE5 inhibitor. 2: 2,3,6,7,12,12a-hexahydropyrazino[1',2':1,6]pyrido[3,4-b]indole-1,4-dione analogues.

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  • 1Laboratoire GlaxoSmithKline, Centre de Recherches, 25-27 Avenue du Qu√©bec, 91951 Les Ulis Cedex, France.


Modification of the hydantoin ring in the previously described lead compound 2a has led to the discovery of compound 12a, tadalafil, a highly potent and highly selective PDE5 inhibitor. The replacement of the hydantoin in compound 2a by a piperazinedione ring led to compound cis-11a which showed similar PDE5 inhibitory potency. Introduction of a 3,4-methylenedioxy substitution on the phenyl ring in position 6 led to a potent PDE5 inhibitor cis-11c with increased cellular potency. Optimization of the chain on the piperazinedione ring led to the identification of the racemic cis-N-methyl derivative 11i. High diastereospecificity for PDE5 inhibition was observed in the piperazinedione series with the cis-(6R,12aR) enantiomer displaying the highest PDE5 inhibitory activity. The piperazinedione 12a, tadalafil (GF196960), has been identified as a highly potent PDE5 inhibitor (IC(50) = 5 nM) with high selectivity for PDE5 vs PDE1-4 and PDE6. Compound 12a displays 85-fold greater selectivity vs PDE6 than sildenafil 1. 12a showed profound and long-lasting blood pressure lowering activity (30 mmHg/>7 h) in the spontaneously hypertensive rat model after oral administration (5 mg/kg).

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