News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "[1,3]oxazines", for Approval

May 15, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Borroni, Edilio (Basel, CH); Gobbi, Luca (Muttenz, CH); Hilpert, Hans (Muenchenstein, CH); Honer, Michael (Zuerich, CH); Muri, Dieter (Basel, CH); Narquizian, Robert (Zaessingue, FR); Polara, Alessandra (Sattelgasse, CH), filed on June 4, 2012, was made available online on May 1, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system and the leading cause of a progressive dementia in the elderly population. Its clinical symptoms are impairment of memory, cognition, temporal and local orientation, judgment and reasoning but also severe emotional disturbances. There are currently no treatments available which can prevent the disease or its progression or stably reverse its clinical symptoms. AD has become a major health problem in all societies with high life expectancies and also a significant economic burden for their health systems.

"AD is characterized by 2 major pathologies in the central nervous system (CNS), the occurrence of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillar tangles (Hardy et al., The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease: progress and problems on the road to therapeutics, Science. 2002 Jul. 19; 297(5580):353-6, Selkoe, Cell biology of the amyloid beta-protein precursor and the mechanism of Alzheimer's disease, Annu Rev Cell Biol. 1994; 10:373-403). Both pathologies are also commonly observed in patients with Down's syndrome (trisomy 21), which also develop AD-like symptoms in early life. Neurofibrillar tangles are intracellular aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT). Amyloid plaques occur in the extracellular space, their principal components are A.beta.-peptides. The latter are a group of proteolytic fragments derived from the .beta.-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by a series of proteolytic cleavage steps. Several forms of APP have been identified of which the most abundant are proteins of 695, 751 and 770 amino acids length. They all arise from a single gene through differential splicing. The A.beta.-peptides are derived from the same domain of the APP but differ at their N- and C-termini, the main species are of 40 and 42 amino-acid length. There are several lines of evidence which strongly suggest that aggregated A.beta.-peptides are the essential molecules in the pathogenesis of AD: 1) amyloid plaques formed of A.beta.-peptides are invariably part of the AD pathology; 2) A.beta.-peptides are toxic for neurons; 3) in Familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD) the mutations in the disease genes APP, PSN1, PSN2 lead to increased levels of A.beta.-peptides and early brain amyloidosis; 4) transgenic mice which express such FAD genes develop a pathology which bears many resemblances to the human disease. A.beta.-peptides are produced from APP through the sequential action of 2 proteolytic enzymes termed .beta.- and .gamma.-secretase. .beta.-Secretase cleaves first in the extracellular domain of APP approximately 28 amino acids outside of the trans-membrane domain to produce a C-terminal fragment of APP containing the TM- and the cytoplasmatic domain (CTF.beta.). CTF.beta. is the substrate for .gamma.-secretase which cleaves at several adjacent positions within the TM to produce the A.beta. peptides and the cytoplasmic fragment. The .gamma.-secretase is a complex of at least 4 different proteins, its catalytic subunit is very likely a presenilin protein (PSEN1, PSEN2). The .beta.-secretase (BACE1, Asp2; BACE stands for .beta.-site APP-cleaving enzyme) is an aspartyl protease which is anchored into the membrane by a transmembrane domain (Vassar et al., Beta-secretase cleavage of Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein by the transmembrane aspartic protease BACE, Science. 1999 Oct. 22; 286(5440):735). It is expressed in many tissues of the human organism but its level is especially high in the CNS. Genetic ablation of the BACE1 gene in mice has clearly shown that its activity is essential for the processing of APP which leads to the generation of A.beta.-peptides, in the absence of BACE1 no A.beta.-peptides are produced (Luo et al., Mice deficient in BACE1, the Alzheimer's beta-secretase, have normal phenotype and abolished beta-amyloid generation, Nat Neurosci. 2001 March; 4(3):231-2, Roberds et al., BACE knockout mice are healthy despite lacking the primary beta-secretase activity in brain: implications for Alzheimer's disease therapeutics, Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Jun. 1; 10(12):1317-24). Mice which have been genetically engineered to express the human APP gene and which form extensive amyloid plaques and Alzheimer's disease like pathologies during aging fail to do so when .beta.-secretase activity is reduced by genetic ablation of one of the BACE1 alleles (McConlogue et al., Partial reduction of BACE1 has dramatic effects on Alzheimer plaque and synaptic pathology in APP Transgenic Mice. J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep. 7; 282(36):26326). It is thus presumed that inhibitors of BACE1 activity can be useful agents for therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer's Disease (AD).

"Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is caused by insulin resistance and inadequate insulin secretion from pancreatic .beta.-cells leading to poor blood-glucose control and hyperglycemia (M Prentki & CJ Nolan, 'Islet beta-cell failure in type 2 diabetes.' J. Clin. Investig. 2006, 116(7), 1802-1812). Patients with T2D have an increased risk of microvascular and macrovascular disease and a range of related complications including diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular disease. In 2000, an estimated 171 million people had the condition with the expectation that this figure will double by 2030 (S Wild, G Roglic, A Green, R. Sicree & H King, 'Global prevalence of diabetes', Diabetes Care 2004, 27(5), 1047-1053), making the disease a major healthcare problem. The rise in prevalence of T2D is associated with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and high-energy food intake of the world's population (P Zimmet, K G M M Alberti & J Shaw, 'Global and societal implications of the diabetes epidemic' Nature 2001, 414, 782-787).

".beta.-Cell failure and consequent dramatic decline in insulin secretion and hyperglycemia marks the onset of T2D. Most current treatments do not prevent the loss of .beta.-cell mass characterizing overt T2D. However, recent developments with GLP-1 analogues, gastrin and other agents show that preservation and proliferation of .beta.-cells is possible to achieve, leading to an improved glucose tolerance and slower progression to overt T2D (L L Baggio & D J Drucker, 'Therapeutic approaches to preserve islet mass in type 2 diabetes', Annu. Rev. Med. 2006, 57, 265-281).

"Tmem27 has been identified as a protein promoting beta-cell proliferation (P Akpinar, S Kuwajima, J Krutzfeldt, M Stoffel, 'Tmem27: A cleaved and shed plasma membrane protein that stimulates pancreatic .beta. cell proliferation', Cell Metab. 2005, 2, 385-397) and insulin secretion (K Fukui, Q Yang, Y Cao, N Takahashi et al., 'The HNF-1 target Collectrin controls insulin exocytosis by SNARE complex formation', Cell Metab. 2005, 2, 373-384). Tmem27 is a 42 kDa membrane glycoprotein which is constitutively shed from the surface of .beta.-cells, resulting from a degradation of the full-length cellular Tmem27. Overexpression of Tmem27 in a transgenic mouse increases .beta.-cell mass and improves glucose tolerance in a diet-induced obesity DIO model of diabetes. Furthermore, siRNA knockout of Tmem27 in a rodent .beta.-cell proliferation assay (e.g. using INS1e cells) reduces the proliferation rate, indicating a role for Tmem27 in control of .beta.-cell mass.

"In the same proliferation assay, BACE2 inhibitors also increase proliferation. However, BACE2 inhibition combined with Tmem27 siRNA knockdown results in low proliferation rates. Therefore, it is concluded that BACE2 is the protease responsible for the degradation of Tmem27. Furthermore, in vitro, BACE2 cleaves a peptide based on the sequence of Tmem27. The closely related protease BACE1 does not cleave this peptide and selective inhibition of BACE1 alone does not enhance proliferation of .beta.-cells.

"The close homolog BACE2 is a membrane-bound aspartyl protease and is co-localized with Tmem27 in human pancreatic .beta.-cells (G Finzi, F Franzi, C Placidi, F Acquati et al., 'BACE2 is stored in secretory granules of mouse and rat pancreatic beta cells', Ultrastruct Pathol. 2008, 32(6), 246-251). It is also known to be capable of degrading APP (I Hussain, D Powell, D Howlett, G Chapman et al., 'ASP1 (BACE2) cleaves the amyloid precursor protein at the .beta.-secretase site' Mol Cell Neurosci. 2000, 16, 609-619), IL-1R2 (P Kuhn, E Marjaux, A Imhof, B De Strooper et al., 'Regulated intramembrane proteolysis of the interleukin-1 receptor II by alpha-, beta-, and gamma-secretase' J. Biol. Chem. 2007, 282(16), 11982-11995) and ACE2. The capability to degrade ACE2 indicates a possible role of BACE2 in the control of hypertension.

"Inhibition of BACE2 is therefore proposed as a treatment for T2D with the potential to preserve and restore .beta.-cell mass and stimulate insulin secretion in pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide selective BACE2 inhibitors. Such compounds are useful as therapeutically active substances, particularly in the treatment and/or prevention of diseases which are associated with the inhibition of BACE2.

"Furthermore, the formation, or formation and deposition, of .beta.-amyloid peptides in, on or around neurological tissue (e.g., the brain) are inhibited by the present compounds, i.e. inhibition of the A.beta.-production from APP or an APP fragment.

"Objects of the present invention are novel compounds of formula I, their manufacture, medicaments based on a compound in accordance with the invention and their production as well as the use of compounds of formula I in the control or prevention of illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes.

"It has been found that the radio-labelled compounds of formula I can be used as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) radiotracer for the labelling and diagnostic molecular imaging of the BACE1 functionality, in particular [.sup.11C]-labelled compounds of formula I. Molecular imaging is based on the selective and specific interaction of a molecular probe (e.g. a radiotracer) with a biological target (for instance a receptor, an enzyme, an ion channel or any other cellular component that is able to bind or retain the molecular probe) which is visualized through PET, nuclear magnetic resonance, near infrared or other methods. PET, a nuclear medical imaging modality, is ideally suited to produce three-dimensional images that provide important information, on the distribution of a biological target in a given organ, or on the metabolic activity of such organ or cell or on the ability of a drug to enter such organ, bind to a biological target and/or modify biological processes. Since PET is a non-invasive imaging technique it can be used to investigate the pathophysiology of a disease and the action of drug on a given molecular target or cellular processes in humans and in animals. The availability of a PET radiotracer specific for a given molecular target can facilitate drug development and the understanding of the mechanism of action of a drug. In addition, a PET radiotracer can facilitate diagnosis of a disease by demonstrating pathophysiological changes taking place as a consequence of the disease.

"The human brain is a complex organ, consisting of millions of intercommunicating neurons. The understanding of abnormalities relating to diseases is the key to the future development of effective diagnosis and novel therapeutics. The study of biochemical abnormalities in human is rapidly becoming an essential and integral component of drug discovery and development process. Traditionally, the discovery and development of new drugs have been performed with a heavy emphasis on in vitro techniques to select promising lead candidates which are subsequently tested in living animals prior to human administration. Because in vitro systems reflect only part of the complexity of living systems and in vivo animal models of human disease are often only an approximation of human pathology, there is growing realization that a robust understanding of drug-receptor interaction in living man at an early stage in this process will be a major driving force in further enhancing the efficient and timely discovery and development of novel therapeutics. Over recent years, there has been a growing use of human medical imaging to assess pathologies, disease processes and drug action. These imaging modalities include PET, MRI, CT, ultrasound, EEG, SPECT and others (British Medical Bulletin, 2003, 65, 169-177). Therefore, the use of non-invasive imaging modalities, e.g. PET is an invaluable tool for the development of drugs in the future. Non-invasive nuclear imaging techniques can be used to obtain basic and diagnostic information about the physiology and biochemistry of a variety of living subjects. These techniques rely on the use of sophisticated imaging instrumentation that is capable of detecting radiation emitted from radiotracers administered to such living subjects. The information obtained can be reconstructed to provide planar and tomographic images that reveal distribution of the radiotracer as a function of time. The use of radiotracers can result in images which contain information on the structure, function and most importantly, the physiology and biochemistry of the subject. Much of this information cannot be obtained by other means. The radiotracers used in these studies are designed to have defined behaviors in vivo which permit the determination of specific information concerning the physiology or biochemistry of the subject. Currently, radiotracers are available for obtaining useful information concerning cardiac function, myocardial blood flow, lung perfusion, liver function, brain blood flow, regional brain glucose and oxygen metabolism (WO2007/041025). Furthermore, PET imaging provides a non-invasive and quantitative assay of normal and abnormal neurochemistry in human at an early stage of the drug development to enhance the efficient and effective discovery of therapeutics. Tracer doses of labeled compounds enable the early evaluation of novel drugs: bio-distribution studies; receptor occupancy studies to optimize drug-dosing regime and characterizing downstream responses of drug action. Understanding disease mechanisms in human using non-invasive techniques is intimately connected with future developments in the diagnosis and management of diseases and of novel therapeutics.

"The radionuclides commonly used in PET include .sup.11C, .sup.13N, .sup.15O and .sup.18F. In principle, it is possible to label all drug analogs with a pet nuclide, but only a few are found applicable as imaging agents in vivo in humans. The radioactive half-time of .sup.11C, .sup.13N, .sup.15O and .sup.18F are 20, 10, 2 and 110 min, respectively. These short half-lives endow a number of advantages to their use as tracers to probe biological processes in vivo using PET. Repeat studies in the same subject within the same day are made possible. PET is being increasingly used as a tool to determine drug-dose-enzyme/receptor occupancy relationships in well-defined compounds. The use of PET radiotracers that specifically bind to the target receptor or enzyme can provide information about the ability of a drug to enter the brain and bind to the target site: the degree of occupancy of the target site produced by a given dose of drug, the time-course of occupancy, and the relative plasma and tissue kinetics of the drug in question.

"Occupancy studies are performed with PET radiotracers which are usually not identical to the drug candidate under study (British Medical Bulletin, 2003, 65, 169-177).

"Further objects of the present invention are radio-labelled inhibitors of general formula I as BACE1 tracer, useful for the labelling and diagnostic imaging of the BACE1 functionality."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention is concerned with [1,3]oxazines having BACE1 and/or BACE2 inhibitory properties, their manufacture, pharmaceutical compositions containing them and their use as therapeutically active substances. The present invention further provides radio-labelled compounds of general formula I as BACE1 tracers, useful for the labelling and diagnostic imaging of the BACE1 functionality."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Borroni, Edilio; Gobbi, Luca; Hilpert, Hans; Honer, Michael; Muri, Dieter; Narquizian, Robert; Polara, Alessandra. [1,3]oxazines. Filed June 4, 2012 and posted May 1, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Amyloid, Patents, Proteins, Chemicals, Proinsulin, Amino Acids, Biochemistry, Nanotechnology, Peptide Hormones, Molecular Imaging, Emerging Technologies, Enzymes and Coenzymes.

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Source: Politics & Government Week