Discovery of selective NaV1.8 inhibitors based on 5-chloro-2-(4,4-difluoroazepan-1-yl)-6-methyl nicotinamide scaffold for the treatment of pain
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
The NaV1.8 channel is a genetically validated target for pain and it is mostly expressed in the peripheral nervous system. Based on the disclosed structures of NaV1.8-selective inhibitors, we designed and synthesized a series of compounds by introducing bicyclic aromatic fragments based on the nicotinamide scaffold. In this research, a systematic structure−activity relationship study was carried out. While compound 2c possessed moderate inhibitory activity (IC50 = 50.18 ± 0.04 nM) in HEK293 cells stably expressing human NaV1.8 channels, it showed potent inhibitory activity in DRG neurons and isoform selectivity (>200-fold against human NaV1.1, NaV1.5 and NaV1.7 channels). Moreover, the analgesic potency of compound 2c was identified in a post-surgical mouse model. These data demonstrate that compound 2c can be further evaluated as a non-addictive analgesic agent with reduced cardiac liabilities.