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J Med Chem. 2012 Feb 23;55(4):1538-52. doi: 10.1021/jm2012968. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Identification of fused-ring alkanoic acids with improved pharmacokinetic profiles that act as G protein-coupled receptor 40/free fatty acid receptor 1 agonists.

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Pharmaceutical Research Division, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, 26-1 Muraoka-Higashi 2-chome, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-8555, Japan.


The G protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40)/free fatty acid receptor 1 (FFA1) has emerged as an attractive target for a novel insulin secretagogue with glucose dependency. We previously identified phenylpropanoic acid derivative 1 (3-{4-[(2',6'-dimethylbiphenyl-3-yl)methoxy]-2-fluorophenyl}propanoic acid) as a potent and orally available GPR40/FFA1 agonist; however, 1 exhibited high clearance and low oral bioavailability, which was likely due to its susceptibility to β-oxidation at the phenylpropanoic acid moiety. To identify long-acting compounds, we attempted to block the metabolically labile sites at the phenylpropanoic acid moiety by introducing a fused-ring structure. Various fused-ring alkanoic acids with potent GPR40/FFA1 activities and good PK profiles were produced. Further optimizations of the lipophilic portion and the acidic moiety led to the discovery of dihydrobenzofuran derivative 53 ((6-{[4'-(2-ethoxyethoxy)-2',6'-dimethylbiphenyl-3-yl]methoxy}-2,3-dihydro-1-benzofuran-3-yl)acetic acid), which acted as a GPR40/FFA1 agonist with in vivo efficacy during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in rats with impaired glucose tolerance.

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