The MAP kinase pathway is one of the most important pathways involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, and its components are promising targets for antitumor drugs. Design and synthesis of a novel MEK inhibitor, based on the 3D-structural information of the target enzyme, and then multidimensional optimization including metabolic stability, physicochemical properties and safety profiles were effectively performed and led to the identification of a clinical candidate for an orally available potent MEK inhibitor, CH4987655, possessing a unique 3-oxo-oxazinane ring structure at the 5-position of the benzamide core structure. CH4987655 exhibits slow dissociation from the MEK enzyme, remarkable in vivo antitumor efficacy both in mono- and combination therapy, desirable metabolic stability, and insignificant MEK inhibition in mouse brain, implying few CNS-related side effects in human. An excellent PK profile and clear target inhibition in PBMC were demonstrated in a healthy volunteer clinical study.
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