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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2018 Jul 27;62(8). pii: e00620-18. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00620-18. Print 2018 Aug.

Nucleotide Prodrug Containing a Nonproteinogenic Amino Acid To Improve Oral Delivery of a Hepatitis C Virus Treatment.

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Gilead Sciences, Foster City, California, USA
Gilead Sciences, Foster City, California, USA.


Delivery of pharmacologically active nucleoside triphosphate analogs to sites of viral infection is challenging. In prior work we identified a 2'-C-methyl-1'-cyano-7-deaza-adenosine C-nucleotide analog with desirable selectivity and potency for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, the prodrug selected for clinical development, GS-6620, required a high dose for meaningful efficacy and had unacceptable variability due to poor oral absorption as a result of suboptimal solubility, intestinal metabolism, and efflux transport. While obtaining clinical proof of concept for the nucleotide analog, a more effective prodrug strategy would be necessary for clinical utility. Here, we report an alternative prodrug of the same nucleoside analog identified to address liabilities of GS-6620. A phosphoramidate prodrug containing the nonproteinogenic amino acid methylalanine, an isopropyl ester and phenol in the (S) conformation at phosphorous, GS2, was found to have improved solubility, intestinal stability, and hepatic activation. GS2 is a more selective substrate for hepatically expressed carboxyl esterase 1 (CES1) and is resistant to hydrolysis by more widely expressed hydrolases, including cathepsin A (CatA) and CES2. Unlike GS-6620, GS2 was not cleaved by intestinally expressed CES2 and, as a result, was stable in intestinal extracts. Levels of liver triphosphate following oral administration of GS2 in animals were higher than those of GS-6620, even when administered under optimal conditions for GS-6620 absorption. Combined, these properties suggest that GS2 will have better oral absorption in the clinic when administered in a solid dosage form and the potential to extend the clinical proof of concept obtained with GS-6620.


GS-6620; GS2; HCV; antiviral; antiviral agents; carboxyl esterase; carboxyl esterase 1; cathepsin A; nucleotide prodrug

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