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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2015 Feb 1;25(3):444-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.12.056. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Discovery of piperidine ethers as selective orexin receptor antagonists (SORAs) inspired by filorexant.

Author information

1
Discovery Chemistry, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, United States.
2
In Vitro Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, United States.
3
Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, United States.
4
Neuroscience, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, United States.
5
In Vivo Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, United States.

Abstract

Highly selective orexin receptor antagonists (SORAs) of the orexin 2 receptor (OX2R) have become attractive targets both as potential therapeutics for insomnia as well as biological tools to help further elucidate the underlying pharmacology of the orexin signaling pathway. Herein, we describe the discovery of a novel piperidine ether 2-SORA class identified by systematic lead optimization beginning with filorexant, a dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA) that recently completed Phase 2 clinical trials. Changes to the ether linkage and pendant heterocycle of filorexant were found to impart significant selectivity for OX2R, culminating in lead compound PE-6. PE-6 displays sub-nanomolar binding affinity and functional potency on OX2R while maintaining >1600-fold binding selectivity and >200-fold functional selectivity versus the orexin 1 receptor (OX1R). PE-6 bears a clean off-target profile, a good overall preclinical pharmacokinetic (PK) profile, and reduces wakefulness with increased NREM and REM sleep when evaluated in vivo in a rat sleep study. Importantly, subtle structural changes to the piperidine ether class impart dramatic changes in receptor selectivity. To this end, our laboratories have identified multiple piperidine ether 2-SORAs, 1-SORAs, and DORAs, providing access to a number of important biological tool compounds from a single structural class.

KEYWORDS:

Active wake; Delta sleep; Dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA); Filorexant; REM sleep; Selective orexin receptor antagonist (SORA)

PMID:
25577040
DOI:
10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.12.056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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