The nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) is a transcription factor that drives Th17 cell differentiation and IL-17 production in both innate and adaptive immune cells. The IL-23/IL-17 pathway is implicated in major autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. RORγt lies at the core of this pathway and represents an attractive opportunity for intervention with a small molecule. Despite diverse chemical series having been reported, combining high potency and nuclear receptor selectivity with good physicochemical properties remains a challenging endeavor in the field of RORγt drug discovery. We describe the discovery and evaluation of a new class of potent and selective RORγt inverse agonists based on a thiazole core. Acid analog 1j demonstrated oral bioavailability in rats and was potent in a human whole blood assay, suggesting potential utility in treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. X-ray crystallographic data helped to elucidate the molecular mechanism for RORγt inhibition with this series.
Keywords: Inverse agonist; RORc; RORγt; Retinoid-related orphan receptor gamma t; Thiazole.
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