Metabolites in safety testing assessment in early clinical development: a case study with a glucokinase activator

Drug Metab Dispos. 2014 Nov;42(11):1926-39. doi: 10.1124/dmd.114.060087. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


The present article summarizes Metabolites in Safety Testing (MIST) studies on a glucokinase activator, N,N-dimethyl-5-((2-methyl-6-((5-methylpyrazin-2-yl)carbamoyl)benzofuran-4-yl)oxy)pyrimidine-2-carboxamide (PF-04937319), which is under development for the treatment of type 2 diametes mellitus. Metabolic profiling in rat, dog, and human hepatocytes revealed that PF-04937319 is metabolized via oxidative (major) and hydrolytic pathways (minor). N-Demethylation to metabolite M1 [N-methyl-5-((2-methyl-6-((5-methylpyrazin-2-yl)carbamoyl)benzofuran-4-yl)oxy)pyrimidine-2-carboxamide] was the major metabolic fate of PF-04937319 in human (but not rat or dog) hepatocytes, and was catalyzed by CYP3A and CYP2C isoforms. Qualitative examination of circulating metabolites in humans at the 100- and 300-mg doses from a 14-day multiple dose study revealed unchanged parent drug and M1 as principal components. Because M1 accounted for 65% of the drug-related material at steady state, an authentic standard was synthesized and used for comparison of steady-state exposures in humans and the 3-month safety studies in rats and dogs at the no-observed-adverse-effect level. Although circulating levels of M1 were very low in beagle dogs and female rats, adequate coverage was obtained in terms of total maximal plasma concentration (∼7.7× and 1.8×) and area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC; 3.6× and 0.8× AUC) relative to the 100- and 300-mg doses, respectively, in male rats. Examination of primary pharmacology revealed M1 was less potent as a glucokinase activator than the parent drug (compound PF-04937319: EC50 = 0.17 μM; M1: EC50 = 4.69 μM). Furthermore, M1 did not inhibit major human P450 enzymes (IC50 > 30 μM), and was negative in the Salmonella Ames assay, with minimal off-target pharmacology, based on CEREP broad ligand profiling. Insights gained from this analysis should lead to a more efficient and focused development plan for fulfilling MIST requirements with PF-04937319.

Trial registration: NCT01272804.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Benzofurans / blood
  • Benzofurans / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dogs
  • Enzyme Activators / blood
  • Enzyme Activators / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Glucokinase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Pyrimidines / blood
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats


  • Benzofurans
  • Enzyme Activators
  • N,N-dimethyl-5-((2-methyl-6-((5-methylpyrazin-2-yl)carbamoyl)benzofuran-4-yl)oxy)pyrimidine-2-carboxamide
  • Pyrimidines
  • Glucokinase

Associated data