Structure-Activity relationships of replacements for the triazolopyridazine of Anti-Cryptosporidium lead SLU-2633
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry
Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease particularly harmful to children and immunocompromised people. Infection is caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium and leads to dehydration, malnutrition, and death in severe cases. Nitazoxanide is the only FDA approved drug but is only modestly effective in children and ineffective in immunocompromised patients. To address this unmet medical need, we previously identified triazolopyridazine SLU-2633 as potent against Cryptosporidium parvum, with an EC50 of 0.17 µM. In the present study, we develop structure–activity relationships (SAR) for the replacement of the triazolopyridazine head group by exploring different heteroaryl groups with the aim of maintaining potency while reducing affinity for the hERG channel. 64 new analogs of SLU-2633 were synthesized and assayed for potency versus C. parvum. The most potent compound, 7,8-dihydro-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-b]pyridazine 17a, was found to have a Cp EC50 of 1.2 µM, 7-fold less potent than SLU-2633 but has an improved lipophilic efficiency (LipE) score. 17a was found to decrease inhibition in an hERG patch-clamp assay by about two-fold relative to SLU-2633 at 10 µM despite having similar inhibition in a [3H]-dofetilide competitive binding assay. While most other heterocycles were significantly less potent than the lead, some analogs such as azabenzothiazole 31b, have promising potency in the low micromolar range, similar to the drug nitazoxanide, and represent potential new leads for optimization. Overall, this work highlights the important role of the terminal heterocyclic head group and represents a significant extension of the understanding of the SAR for this class of anti-Cryptosporidium compounds.