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J Med Chem. 2015 Feb 12;58(3):1358-71. doi: 10.1021/jm501642c. Epub 2015 Feb 2.

Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 negative allosteric modulators: discovery of 2-chloro-4-[1-(4-fluorophenyl)-2,5-dimethyl-1H-imidazol-4-ylethynyl]pyridine (basimglurant, RO4917523), a promising novel medicine for psychiatric diseases.

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Discovery Chemistry, Therapeutic Modalities, ‡Discovery Neuroscience, Neuroscience, Ophthalmology & Rare Diseases (NORD), §Communications, ∥Pharmaceutical Sciences, ⊥Molecular Design and Chemical Biology, Therapeutic Modalities, #Small Molecules Process Research and Synthesis, Therapeutic Modalities, ∞Infections Diseases, and ×Operations for Neuroscience, Ophthalmology, and Rare Diseases (NORD), Innovation Center Basel, Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development , Grenzacherstrasse 124, CH-4070 Basel, Switzerland.


Negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) have potential for the treatment of psychiatric diseases including depression, fragile X syndrome (FXS), anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and levodopa induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease. Herein we report the optimization of a weakly active screening hit 1 to the potent and selective compounds chloro-4-[1-(4-fluorophenyl)-2,5-dimethyl-1H-imidazol-4-ylethynyl]pyridine (basimglurant, 2) and 2-chloro-4-((2,5-dimethyl-1-(4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl)-1H-imidazol-4-yl)ethynyl)pyridine (CTEP, 3). Compound 2 is active in a broad range of anxiety tests reaching the same efficacy but at a 10- to 100-fold lower dose compared to diazepam and is characterized by favorable DMPK properties in rat and monkey as well as an excellent preclinical safety profile and is currently in phase II clinical studies for the treatment of depression and fragile X syndrome. Analogue 3 is the first reported mGlu5 NAM with a long half-life in rodents and is therefore an ideal tool compound for chronic studies in mice and rats.

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