Discovery of N-substituted oseltamivir derivatives as novel neuraminidase inhibitors with improved drug resistance profiles and favorable drug-like properties

Eur J Med Chem. 2023 Mar 13;252:115275. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2023.115275. Online ahead of print.


To yield potent neuraminidase inhibitors with improved drug resistance and favorable drug-like properties, two series of novel oseltamivir derivatives targeting the 150-cavity of neuraminidase were designed, synthesized, and biologically evaluated. Among the synthesized compounds, the most potent compound 43b bearing 3-floro-4-cyclopentenylphenzyl moiety exhibited weaker or slightly improved inhibitory activity against wild-type neuraminidases (NAs) of H1N1, H5N1, and H5N8 compared to oseltamivir carboxylate (OSC). Encouragingly, 43b displayed 62.70- and 5.03-fold more potent activity than OSC against mutant NAs of H5N1-H274Y and H1N1-H274Y, respectively. In cellular antiviral assays, 43b exerted equivalent or more potent activities against H1N1, H5N1, and H5N8 compared to OSC with no significant cytotoxicity up to 200 μM. Notably, 43b displayed potent antiviral efficacy in the embryonated egg model, in which achieved a protective effect against H5N1 and H5N8 similar to OSC. Molecular docking studies were implemented to reveal the binding mode of 43b in the binding pocket. Moreover, 43b possessed improved physicochemical properties and ADMET properties compared to OSC by in silico prediction. Taken together, 43b appeared to be a promising lead compound for further investigation.

Keywords: 150-Cavity; Drug resistance; Influenza virus; Neuraminidase inhibitors; Oseltamivir.