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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2011 Aug 1;21(15):4429-35. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.06.023. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Identification of MK-5710 ((8aS)-8a-methyl-1,3-dioxo-2-[(1S,2R)-2-phenylcyclo- propyl]-N-(1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)hexahydro-imidazo[1,5-a]pyrazine-7(1H)-carboxamide), a potent smoothened antagonist for use in Hedgehog pathway dependent malignancies, part 2.

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IRBM, Merck Research Laboratories Rome, Rome, Italy.


The Hedgehog (Hh-) signaling pathway is a key developmental pathway which gets reactivated in many human tumors, and smoothened (Smo) antagonists are emerging as novel agents for the treatment of malignancies dependent on the Hh-pathway, with the most advanced compounds demonstrating encouraging results in initial clinical trials. A novel series of potent bicyclic hydantoin Smo antagonists was reported in the preceding article, these have been resolved, and optimized to identify potent homochiral derivatives with clean off-target profiles and good pharmacokinetic properties in preclinical species. While showing in vivo efficacy in mouse allograft models, unsubstituted bicyclic tetrahydroimidazo[1,5-a]pyrazine-1,3(2H,5H)-diones were shown to epimerize in plasma. Alkylation of the C-8 position blocks this epimerization, resulting in the identification of MK-5710 (47) which was selected for further development.

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