Biphenyl Pyridazinone Derivatives as Inhaled PDE4 Inhibitors: Structural Biology and Structure-Activity Relationships

J Med Chem. 2016 Dec 8;59(23):10479-10497. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00829. Epub 2016 Nov 17.


Cyclic nucleotide cAMP is a ubiquitous secondary messenger involved in a plethora of cellular responses to biological agents involving activation of adenylyl cyclase. Its intracellular levels are tightly controlled by a family of cyclic nucleotide degrading enzymes, the PDEs. In recent years, cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) has aroused scientific attention as a suitable target for anti-inflammatory therapy in respiratory diseases, particularly in the management of asthma and COPD. Here we describe our efforts to discover novel, highly potent inhaled inhibitors of PDE4. Through structure based design, with the inclusion of a variety of functional groups and physicochemical profiles in order to occupy the solvent-filled pocket of the PDE4 enzyme, we modified the structure of our oral PDE4 inhibitors to reach compounds down to picomolar enzymatic potencies while at the same time tackling successfully an uncovered selectivity issue with the adenosine receptors. In vitro potencies were demonstrated in a rat lung neutrophilia model by administration of a suspension with a Penn-Century MicroSprayer Aerosolizer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4 / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Pyridazines / chemical synthesis
  • Pyridazines / chemistry
  • Pyridazines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors
  • Pyridazines
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4