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Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are critical cell cycle regulators that are often overexpressed in tumors, making them promising targets for anti-cancer therapies. Despite substantial advancements in optimizing the selectivity and drug-like properties of CDK inhibitors, safety of multi-target inhibitors remains a significant challenge. Macrocyclization is a promising drug discovery strategy to improve the pharmacological properties of existing compounds. Here we report the development of a macrocyclization platform that enabled the highly efficient discovery of a novel, macrocyclic CDK2/4/6 inhibitor from an acyclic precursor (NUV422). Using dihedral angle scan and structure-based, computer-aided drug design to select an optimal ring-closing site and linker length for the macrocycle, we identified compound 8 as a potent new CDK2/4/6 inhibitor with optimized cellular potency and safety profile compared to NUV422. Our platform leverages both experimentally-solved as well as generative chemistry-derived macrocyclic structures and can be deployed to streamline the design of macrocyclic new drugs from acyclic starting compounds, yielding macrocyclic compounds with enhanced potency and improved drug-like properties. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Fanye Meng, Jinxin Liu, Zhongying Cao, Jiaojiao Yu, Barbara Steurer, Yilin Yang, Yazhou Wang, Xin Cai, Man Zhang, Feng Ren, Alex Aliper, Xiao Ding, Alex Zhavoronkov. Discovery of macrocyclic CDK2/4/6 inhibitors with improved potency and DMPK properties through a highly efficient macrocyclic drug design platform. Bioorganic chemistry. 2024 May;146:107285

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PMID: 38547721

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