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J Med Chem. 2013 Oct 10;56(19):7706-14. doi: 10.1021/jm4011737. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Structure-kinetic relationships--an overlooked parameter in hit-to-lead optimization: a case of cyclopentylamines as chemokine receptor 2 antagonists.

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Division of Medicinal Chemistry, Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research, Leiden University , Post Office Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands.


Preclinical models of inflammatory diseases (e.g., neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis) have pointed to a critical role of the chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) and chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2). However, one of the biggest problems of high-affinity inhibitors of CCR2 is their lack of efficacy in clinical trials. We report a new approach for the design of high-affinity and long-residence-time CCR2 antagonists. We developed a new competition association assay for CCR2, which allows us to investigate the relation of the structure of the ligand and its receptor residence time [i.e., structure-kinetic relationship (SKR)] next to a traditional structure-affinity relationship (SAR). By applying combined knowledge of SAR and SKR, we were able to re-evaluate the hit-to-lead process of cyclopentylamines as CCR2 antagonists. Affinity-based optimization yielded compound 1 with good binding (Ki = 6.8 nM) but very short residence time (2.4 min). However, when the optimization was also based on residence time, the hit-to-lead process yielded compound 22a, a new high-affinity CCR2 antagonist (3.6 nM), with a residence time of 135 min.

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