Discovery of Orally Active Hydroxyethylamine Based SPPL2a Inhibitors

ACS Med Chem Lett. 2019 May 23;10(6):887-892. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00044. eCollection 2019 Jun 13.


SPPL2a (Signal Peptide Peptidase Like 2a) is an intramembrane aspartyl protease engaged in the function of B-cells and dendritic cells. Despite being an attractive target for modulation of the immune system, selective SPPL2a inhibitors are barely described in the literature. Recently, we have disclosed a selective, small molecular weight agent SPL-707 which confirmed that pharmacological inhibition of SPPL2a leads to the accumulation of its substrate CD74/p8 and as a consequence to a reduction in the number of B-cells as well as myeloid dendritic cells in mice. In this paper we describe the discovery of novel hydroxyethylamine based SPPL2a inhibitors. Starting from a rather lipophilic screening hit, several iterative optimization cycles allowed for its transformation into a highly potent and selective compound 15 (SPL-410) which inhibited in vivo CD74/p8 fragment processing in mice at 10 mg/kg oral dose.