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Pivot Park Screening Centre unveils new insulin-regulated aminopeptidase inhibitors


Pivot Park Screening Centre, a CRO that offers assay development, lab automation, uHTS and hit-to-lead services for early drug discovery projects, is thrilled to share the paper published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in which Saman Honarnejad participated. The paper is titled ultra-high throughput-based screening for the discovery of antiplatelet drugs affecting receptor dependent calcium signaling dynamics.


With the ambition to identify novel chemical starting points that can be further optimized into small drug-like inhibitors of insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) and serve as potential future cognitive enhancers in the clinic, we conducted an ultra-high-throughput screening campaign of a chemically diverse compound library of approximately 400,000 drug-like small molecules. Three biochemical and one biophysical assays were developed to enable large-scale screening and hit triaging. The screening funnel, designed to be compatible with high-density microplates, was established with two enzyme inhibition assays employing either fluorescent or absorbance readouts. As IRAP is a zinc-dependent enzyme, the remaining active compounds were further evaluated in the primary assay, albeit with the addition of zinc ions. Rescreening with zinc confirmed the inhibitory activity for most compounds, emphasizing a zinc-independent mechanism of action. Additionally, target engagement was confirmed using a complementary biophysical thermal shift assay where compounds causing positive/negative thermal shifts were considered genuine binders. Triaging based on biochemical activity, target engagement, and drug-likeness resulted in the selection of 50 qualified hits, of which the IC50 of 32 compounds was below 3.5 µM. Despite hydroxamic acid dominance, diverse chemotypes with biochemical activity and target engagement were discovered, including non-hydroxamic acid compounds. The most potent compound (QHL1) was resynthesized with a confirmed inhibitory IC50 of 320 nM. Amongst these compounds, 20 new compound structure classes were identified, providing many new starting points for the development of unique IRAP inhibitors. Detailed characterization and optimization of lead compounds, considering both hydroxamic acids and other diverse structures, are in progress for further exploration.

Read the entire publication here.

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