Application of drug repositioning strategy to TOFISOPAM

Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(30):3196-203. doi: 10.2174/092986708786848488.


Drug repositioning strategy is an interesting approach for pharmaceutical companies; especially to increase their productivity. SELNERGY(tm) is a reverse docking based-program able to virtually screen thousands of compounds on more than 2000 3D biological targets. This program was successfully applied to tofisopam and revealed that the isomers of tofisopam are able to fit with phosphodiesterase 4. This old drug was used as a racemic mixture to treat anxiety in the eighties and was recently shown to act as a PDE4 inhibitor. Thanks to this strategy we demonstrated that tofisopam acts via the inhibition of PDE4 in the submicromolar range. Moreover, we firstly showed that the S-enantiomer of tofisopam is ten times more active than R-enantiomer. The identification of the biochemical mechanism of tofisopam isomers now allows to reposition this drug in new therapeutic indications where modulation of cAMP via PDE4 inhibitors are possible.

MeSH terms

  • Benzodiazepines / chemistry*
  • Benzodiazepines / isolation & purification
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4 / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4
  • tofisopam