McGonagle K, Tarver GJ, Cantizani J, Cotillo I, Dodd PG, Ferguson L, Gilbert IH, Marco M, Miles T, Naylor C, Osuna-Cabello M, Paterson C, Read KD, Pinto EG, Riley J, Scullion P, Shishikura Y, Simeons F, Stojanovski L, Svensen N, Thomas J, Wyatt PG, Manzano P, De Rycker M, Thomas MG.
Eur J Med Chem. 2022 Aug 5;238:114421. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2022.114421. Epub 2022 May 6. PMID: 35594652.
Approximately 6-7 million people around the world are estimated to be infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. The current treatments are inadequate and therefore new medical interventions are urgently needed. In this paper we describe the identification of a series of disubstituted piperazines which shows good potency against the target parasite but is hampered by poor metabolic stability. We outline the strategies used to mitigate this issue such as lowering logD, bioisosteric replacements of the metabolically labile piperazine ring and use of plate-based arrays for quick diversity scoping. We discuss the success of these strategies within the context of this series and highlight the challenges faced in phenotypic programs when attempting to improve the pharmacokinetic profile of compounds whilst maintaining potency against the desired target.