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.
- Received December 5, 2016.
- Accepted February 2, 2017.
↵1 S.N.K. and J.B. contributed equally to this work.
This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health [Grants AI44616, GM49551, AI112443, and AI122384] and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship [AI122864]. This work is based on research conducted at the Northeastern Collaborative Access Team beamlines, which are funded by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of General Medical Sciences [Grant P41 GM103403]. Crystal screening was conducted with support from the Yale Macromolecular X-ray Core Facility [1S10OD018007-01]. This research used resources from the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics