Irreversible covalent inhibition can increase selectivity, potency and duration of action, broadens applications for targeted covalent drugs to the protease gene family.
Avila Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel targeted covalent drugs, has demonstrated the first-ever selective irreversible inhibition of a viral protease using a targeted covalent drug.
Avila has used its proprietary Avilomics platform to design covalent irreversible protease inhibitors that are highly selective, potent and with superior duration of action as compared to conventional protease inhibitors.
The research has demonstrated that covalent drugs can be designed and targeted to irreversibly and covalently bond to molecular domains specific to proteases.
"This research elevates covalent drug design to a fundamentally new level. By creating extremely selective protease inhibitors with their platform, Avila is showing the remarkable therapeutic potential of irreversible covalent drugs to address a broad spectrum of drug targets," said Simon Campbell , a renowned scientist.
"This approach can make a difference to patients living with HCV infection, and we expect to make an impact in other important areas such as cancer and inflammatory disease," said Juswinder Singh, co-author of the paper.
In order to maximize selectivity and minimize off-target effects, the irreversible covalent inhibitors of HCV protease were designed to covalently target a unique structure in the HCV protease not found in human proteases. Key findings include:
A representative irreversible covalent inhibitor designed, by Avila, was shown to inhibit the HCV protease (also known as "NS3") in cells at a concentration of 6 nM.
Specific covalent bond formation between the drug and target protease was demonstrated through use of mass spectrometry and also x-ray crystallography.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.