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Bone. 2007 Jan;40(1):122-31. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

A highly potent inhibitor of cathepsin K (relacatib) reduces biomarkers of bone resorption both in vitro and in an acute model of elevated bone turnover in vivo in monkeys.

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Department of Musculoskeletal Diseases, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA 19426, USA.


Cathepsin K is an osteoclast-derived cysteine protease that has been implicated as playing a major role in bone resorption. A substantial body of evidence indicates that cathepsin K is critical in osteoclast-mediated bone resorption and suggests that its pharmacological inhibition should result in inhibition of bone resorption in vivo. Here we report the pharmacological characterization of SB-462795 (relacatib) as a potent and orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitor of cathepsin K that inhibits bone resorption both in vitro in human tissue and in vivo in cynomolgus monkeys. SB-462795 is a potent inhibitor of human cathepsins K, L, and V (K(i, app)=41, 68, and 53 pM, respectively) that exhibits 39-300-fold selectivity over other cathepsins. SB-462795 inhibited endogenous cathepsin K in situ in human osteoclasts and human osteoclast-mediated bone resorption with IC50 values of approximately 45 nM and approximately 70 nM, respectively. The anti-resorptive potential of SB-462795 was evaluated in normal as well as medically ovariectomized (Ovx) female cynomolgus monkeys. Serum levels of the C- and N-terminal telopeptides of Type I collagen (CTx and NTx, respectively) and urinary levels of NTx were monitored as biomarkers of bone resorption. Administration of SB-462795 to medically ovariectomized or normal monkeys resulted in an acute reduction in both serum and urinary markers of bone resorption within 1.5 h after dosing, and this effect lasted up to 48 h depending on the dose administered. Our data indicate that SB-462795 potently inhibits human cathepsin K in osteoclasts, resulting in a rapid inhibition of bone resorption both in vitro and in vivo in the monkey. These studies also demonstrate the therapeutic potential of relacatib in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and serves to model the planned clinical trials in human subjects.

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