Al-Horani RA, Meta AY, Desai UR. (2012) Potent direct inhibitors of factor Xa based on the tetrahydroisoquinoline scaffold. Eur J Med Chem. 54:771-83. PMID: 22770607; PMCID: PMC3408863.
Direct inhibition of coagulation factor Xa (FXa) carries significant promise for developing effective and safe anticoagulants. Although a large number of FXa inhibitors have been studied, each can be classified as either possessing a highly flexible or a rigid core scaffold. We reasoned that an intermediate level of flexibility will provide high selectivity for FXa considering that its active site is less constrained in comparison to thrombin and more constrained as compared to trypsin. We studied several core scaffolds including 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-3-carboxylic acid for direct FXa inhibition. Using a genetic algorithm-based docking and scoring approach, a promising candidate 23 was identified, synthesized, and found to inhibit FXa with a K(i) of 28 μM. Optimization of derivative 23 resulted in the design of a potent dicarboxamide 47, which displayed a K(i) of 135 nM. Dicarboxamide 47 displayed at least 1852-fold selectivity for FXa inhibition over other coagulation enzymes and doubled PT and aPTT of human plasma at 17.1 μM and 20.2 μM, respectively, which are comparable to those of clinically relevant agents. Dicarboxamide 47 is expected to serve as an excellent lead for further anticoagulant discovery.