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J Med Chem. 2014 Mar 13;57(5):1790-801. doi: 10.1021/jm301887f. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Achiral pyrazinone-based inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus NS3 protease and drug-resistant variants with elongated substituents directed toward the S2 pocket.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Organic Pharmaceutical Chemistry, BMC, Uppsala University, Box 574, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden.


Herein we describe the design, synthesis, inhibitory potency, and pharmacokinetic properties of a novel class of achiral peptidomimetic HCV NS3 protease inhibitors. The compounds are based on a dipeptidomimetic pyrazinone glycine P3P2 building block in combination with an aromatic acyl sulfonamide in the P1P1' position. Structure-activity relationship data and molecular modeling support occupancy of the S2 pocket from elongated R(6) substituents on the 2(1H)-pyrazinone core and several inhibitors with improved inhibitory potency down to Ki = 0.11 μM were identified. A major goal with the design was to produce inhibitors structurally dissimilar to the di- and tripeptide-based HCV protease inhibitors in advanced stages of development for which cross-resistance might be an issue. Therefore, the retained and improved inhibitory potency against the drug-resistant variants A156T, D168V, and R155K further strengthen the potential of this class of inhibitors. A number of the inhibitors were tested in in vitro preclinical profiling assays to evaluate their apparent pharmacokinetic properties. The various R(6) substituents were found to have a major influence on solubility, metabolic stability, and cell permeability.

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