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ACS Med Chem Lett. 2016 Mar 1;7(5):525-30. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00064. eCollection 2016 May 12.

Discovery of Potent, Orally Bioavailable Inhibitors of Human Cytomegalovirus.

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Research and Development, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. , 2100 Cunard Street, Laval, Québec H7S 2G5, Canada.


A high-throughput screen based on a viral replication assay was used to identify inhibitors of the human cytomegalovirus. Using this approach, hit compound 1 was identified as a 4 μM inhibitor of HCMV that was specific and selective over other herpes viruses. Time of addition studies indicated compound 1 exerted its antiviral effect early in the viral life cycle. Mechanism of action studies also revealed that this series inhibited infection of MRC-5 and ARPE19 cells by free virus and via direct cell-to-cell spread from infected to uninfected cells. Preliminary structure-activity relationships demonstrated that the potency of compound 1 could be improved to a low nanomolar level, but metabolic stability was a key optimization parameter for this series. A strategy focused on minimizing metabolic hydrolysis of the N1-amide led to an alternative scaffold in this series with improved metabolic stability and good pharmacokinetic parameters in rat.


HCMV; antiviral agents; cell-to-cell spread; replication inhibitors

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