The identification of orally active, small molecule antagonists of the α4β1 integrin, VLA-4, could lead to therapeutic agents with utility in a number of clinical settings, including asthma, multiple sclerosis and IBD. Starting from CDR3 sequences conserved among neutralizing α4 antibodies, peptides were identified that antagonized VLA-4 mediated adhesion in vitro. Through a series of structural modifications, these peptides evolved into small molecules that exhibited high potency and selectivity for VLA-4 in cell adhesion assays. Finally, through the optimization of physical and pharmacokinetic properties, compounds were identified that exhibited oral activity in animal models of asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Keywords: vla-4 antagonist, cell adhesion, pro-drug, multiple sclerosis, asthma
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