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J Med Chem. 2011 Jan 13;54(1):201-10. doi: 10.1021/jm1010995. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Aurora kinase inhibitors based on the imidazo[1,2-a]pyrazine core: fluorine and deuterium incorporation improve oral absorption and exposure.

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Department of Chemical Research, Merck Research Laboratories, Kenilworth, New Jersey 07033, United States.


Aurora kinases are cell cycle regulated serine/threonine kinases that have been linked to cancer. Compound 1 was identified as a potent Aurora inhibitor but lacked oral bioavailability. Optimization of 1 led to the discovery of a series of fluoroamine and deuterated analogues, exemplified by compound 25, with an improved pharmacokinetic profile. We found that blocking oxidative metabolism at the benzylic position and decreasing the basicity of the amine are important to obtaining compounds with good biological profiles and oral bioavailability.

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