Discovery of highly potent, selective, and brain-penetrable leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) small molecule inhibitors

J Med Chem. 2012 Nov 26;55(22):9416-33. doi: 10.1021/jm301020q. Epub 2012 Oct 15.


There is a high demand for potent, selective, and brain-penetrant small molecule inhibitors of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) to test whether inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity is a potentially viable treatment option for Parkinson's disease patients. Herein we disclose the use of property and structure-based drug design for the optimization of highly ligand efficient aminopyrimidine lead compounds. High throughput in vivo rodent cassette pharmacokinetic studies enabled rapid validation of in vitro-in vivo correlations. Guided by this data, optimal design parameters were established. Effective incorporation of these guidelines into our molecular design process resulted in the discovery of small molecule inhibitors such as GNE-7915 (18) and 19, which possess an ideal balance of LRRK2 cellular potency, broad kinase selectivity, metabolic stability, and brain penetration across multiple species. Advancement of GNE-7915 into rodent and higher species toxicity studies enabled risk assessment for early development.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Molecular
  • Morpholines / chemical synthesis
  • Morpholines / pharmacokinetics
  • Morpholines / pharmacology*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pyrimidines / chemical synthesis
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Tissue Distribution


  • (4-(4-(ethylamino)-5-(trifluoromethyl)pyrimidin-2-ylamino)-2-fluoro-5-methoxyphenyl)(morpholino)methanone
  • Morpholines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases