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Design and synthesis of a potent, highly selective, orally bioavailable, retinoic acid receptor alpha agonist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Earl Clarke, Christopher I. Jarvis, Maria B. Goncalves, S. Barret Kalindjian, David R. Adams, Jane T. Brown, Jason J. Shiers, David M.A. Taddei, Elodie Ravier, Stephanie Barlow, Iain Miller, Vanessa Smith, Alan D. Borthwick, Jonathan P.T. Corcoran

Original languageEnglish
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Early online date9 Dec 2017
Accepted/In press8 Dec 2017
E-pub ahead of print9 Dec 2017


King's Authors


A ligand-based virtual screening exercise examining likely bioactive conformations of AM 580 (2) and AGN 193836 (3) was used to identify the novel, less lipophilic RARα agonist 4-(3,5-dichloro-4-ethoxybenzamido)benzoic acid 5, which has good selectivity over the RARβ, and RARγ receptors. Analysis of the medicinal chemistry parameters of the 3,5-substituents of derivatives of template 5 enabled us to design a class of drug-like molecules with lower intrinsic clearance and higher oral bioavailability which led to the novel RARα agonist 4-(3-chloro-4-ethoxy-5-isopropoxybenzamido)-2-methylbenzoic acid 56 that has high RARα potency and excellent selectivity versus RARβ (2 orders of magnitude) and RARγ (4 orders of magnitude) at both the human and mouse RAR receptors with improved drug-like properties. This RARα specific agonist 56 has high oral bioavailability (>80%) in both mice and dogs with a good PK profile and was shown to be inactive in cytotoxicity and genotoxicity screens.

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