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J Med Chem. 2012 Jan 12;55(1):68-83. doi: 10.1021/jm200825u. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Ethionamide boosters. 2. Combining bioisosteric replacement and structure-based drug design to solve pharmacokinetic issues in a series of potent 1,2,4-oxadiazole EthR inhibitors.

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Université Lille Nord de France, F-59000 Lille, France.


Mycobacterial transcriptional repressor EthR controls the expression of EthA, the bacterial monooxygenase activating ethionamide, and is thus largely responsible for the low sensitivity of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis to this antibiotic. We recently reported structure-activity relationships of a series of 1,2,4-oxadiazole EthR inhibitors leading to the discovery of potent ethionamide boosters. Despite high metabolic stability, pharmacokinetic evaluation revealed poor mice exposure; therefore, a second phase of optimization was required. Herein a structure-property relationship study is reported according to the replacement of the two aromatic heterocycles: 2-thienyl and 1,2,4-oxadiazolyl moieties. This work was done using a combination of structure-based drug design and in vitro/ex vivo evaluations of ethionamide boosters on the targeted protein EthR and on the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Thanks to this process, we identified compound 42 (BDM41906), which displays improved efficacy in addition to high exposure to mice after oral administration.

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