Optimization of the Urea Linker of Triazolopyridazine MMV665917 Results in a New Anticryptosporidial Lead with Improved Potency and Predicted hERG Safety Margin
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Cryptosporidiosis is caused by infection of the small intestine by Cryptosporidium parasites, resulting in severe diarrhea, dehydration, malabsorption, and potentially death. The only FDA-approved therapeutic is only partially effective in young children and ineffective for immunocompromised patients. Triazolopyridazine MMV665917 is a previously reported anti-Cryptosporidium screening hit with in vivo efficacy but suffers from modest inhibition of the hERG ion channel, which could portend cardiotoxicity. Herein, we describe our initial development of structure-activity relationships of this novel lead series with a particular focus on optimization of the piperazine-urea linker. We have discovered that piperazine-acetamide is a superior linker resulting in identification of SLU-2633, which has an EC50 of 0.17 μM, an improved projected margin versus hERG, prolonged pharmacokinetic exposure in small intestine, and oral efficacy in vivo with minimal systemic exposure. SLU-2633 represents a significant advancement toward the identification of a new effective and safe treatment for cryptosporidiosis.