March 3rd 2021|ACS Med.Chem. Lett.2021| Discovery of 2,3-1H-Imidazole Carboxamides as Potent and Selective TAK1 Inhibitors
Herein we report the discovery of 2,4-1H-imidazole carboxamides as novel, biochemically potent, and kinome selective inhibitors of transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1). The target was subjected to a DNA-encoded chemical library (DECL) screen. After hit analysis a cluster of compounds was identified, which was based on a central pyrrole-2,4-1H-dicarboxamide scaffold, showing remarkable kinome selectivity. A scaffold-hop to the corresponding imidazole resulted in increased biochemical potency. Next, X-ray crystallography revealed a distinct binding mode compared to other TAK1 inhibitors. A benzylamide was found in a perpendicular orientation with respect to the core hinge-binding imidazole. Additionally, an unusual amide flip was observed in the kinase hinge region. Using structure-based drug design (SBDD), key substitutions at the pyrrolidine amide and the glycine resulted in a significant increase in biochemical potency.