The CXCR3 chemokine receptor is a G protein-coupled receptor mainly expressed on immune cells from the lymphoid lineage, including activated T cells. Binding of its inducible chemokine ligands CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 leads to downstream signaling events and the migration of activated T cells to sites of inflammation. Herein, we report the third part of our CXCR3 antagonist program in the field of autoimmunity, culminating in the discovery of the clinical compound ACT-777991 (8a). A previously disclosed advanced molecule was exclusively metabolized by the CYP2D6 enzyme, and options to address the issue are described. ACT-777991 is a highly potent, insurmountable, and selective CXCR3 antagonist that showed dose-dependent efficacy and target engagement in a mouse model of acute lung inflammation. The excellent properties and safety profile warranted progress in the clinics.
By Emmanuel A. Meyer, Päivi Äänismaa, Eric A. Ertel, Eva Hühn, Daniel S. Strasser, Markus Rey, Mark J. Murphy, Marianne M. Martinic, Laetitia Pouzol, Sylvie Froidevaux, Marcel P. Keller & Eva Caroff