Structural and Preclinical Studies of Computationally Designed Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors for Treating HIV infection.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Mol Pharmacol, Volume 91, Issue 4, p.383-391 (2017)


Animals, Benzoxazines, Crystallography, X-Ray, Drug Design, Drug Evaluation, Preclinical, Female, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Inhibitory Concentration 50, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, Solubility


<p>The clinical benefits of HIV-1 non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NNRTIs) are hindered by their unsatisfactory pharmacokinetic (PK) properties along with the rapid development of drug-resistant variants. However, the clinical efficacy of these inhibitors can be improved by developing compounds with enhanced pharmacological profiles and heightened antiviral activity. We used computational and structure-guided design to develop two next-generation NNRTI drug candidates, compounds I and II, which are members of a class of catechol diethers. We evaluated the preclinical potential of these compounds in BALB/c mice because of their high solubility (510 µg/ml for compound I and 82.9 µg/ml for compound II), low cytotoxicity, and enhanced antiviral activity against wild-type (WT) HIV-1 RT and resistant variants. Additionally, crystal structures of compounds I and II with WT RT suggested an optimal binding to the NNRTI binding pocket favoring the high anti-viral potency. A single intraperitoneal dose of compounds I and II exhibited a prolonged serum residence time of 48 hours and concentration maximum (Cmax) of 4000- to 15,000-fold higher than their therapeutic/effective concentrations. These Cmax values were 4- to 15-fold lower than their cytotoxic concentrations observed in MT-2 cells. Compound II showed an enhanced area under the curve (0-last) and decreased plasma clearance over compound I and efavirenz, the standard of care NNRTI. Hence, the overall (PK) profile of compound II was excellent compared with that of compound I and efavirenz. Furthermore, both compounds were very well tolerated in BALB/c mice without any detectable acute toxicity. Taken together, these data suggest that compounds I and II possess improved anti-HIV-1 potency, remarkable in vivo safety, and prolonged in vivo circulation time, suggesting strong potential for further development as new NNRTIs for the potential treatment of HIV infection.</p>