Design of 2,5-dimethyl-3-(6-dimethyl-4-methylpyridin-3-yl)-7-dipropylaminopyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine (NBI 30775/R121919) and structure--activity relationships of a series of potent and orally active corticotropin-releasing factor receptor antagonists

J Med Chem. 2004 Sep 9;47(19):4787-98. doi: 10.1021/jm040058e.


We have previously shown that 3-phenylpyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines exemplified by 8 were potent antagonists of the human corticotropin-releasing factor-1 receptor. A series of 3-pyridylpyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines 15, 25-30, 34, and 35 containing a weakly basic pyridine ring at the 3-position of the bicyclic nucleus was designed to reduce lipophilicity from the initial leads such as 7. Here, we showed that these 3-pyridyl compounds exhibited potent antagonists at the human CRF(1) receptor. Moreover, the hydrophilic and weakly basic pyridine moiety increased the water solubility of some analogues. Compound 26 h exhibited good binding affinity at the human CRF(1) receptor with a K(i) value of 3.5 nM. As a functional antagonist, it dose-dependently inhibited CRF-stimulated cAMP production in cells expressing the CRF(1) receptor (IC(50) = 50 nM), and CRF-stimulated ACTH release from cultured rat pituitary cells (IC(50) = 20 nM). 26 h had a log P value of 4.9 and water solubility of greater than 10 mg/mL. Pharmacokinetic studies in rats showed that 26 h was orally bioavailable and able to penetrate into the brain. 26 h has been demonstrated in vivo efficacy in animal behavioral models that measure anxiolytic activity. These results suggest that analogues from this series were potent CRF(1) receptor antagonists with proper physicochemical properties and good pharmacokinetic profiles. 26 h was developed into a clinical compound and exhibited efficacy in patients with major depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Drug Design*
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrimidines / chemical synthesis
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Pyrimidines
  • R 121919
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Cyclic AMP
  • pyrimidine