Cyclopentane neuraminidase inhibitors with potent in vitro anti-influenza virus activities

Author(s): Smee D, Huffman JH, Morrison AC, Barnard DL, Sidwell RW


A novel series of cyclopentane derivatives have been found to exhibit potent and selective inhibitory effects on influenza virus neuraminidase. These compounds, designated RWJ-270201, BCX-1827, BCX-1898, and BCX-1923, were tested in parallel with zanamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate against a spectrum of influenza A (H1N1, H3N2, and H5N1) and influenza B viruses in MDCK cells. Inhibition of viral cytopathic effect ascertained visually and by neutral red dye uptake was used, with 50% effective (virus-inhibitory) concentrations (EC(50)) determined. Against the H1N1 viruses A/Bayern/07/95, A/Beijing/262/95, A/PR/8/34, and A/Texas/36/91, EC(50)s (determined by neutral red assay) of the novel compounds were < or =1.5 microM. Twelve strains of H3N2 and two strains of avian H5N1 viruses were inhibited at <0.3 microM. Influenza B/Beijing/184/93 and B/Harbin/07/94 viruses were inhibited at <0.2 microM, with three other B virus strains inhibited at 0.8 to 8 microM. The novel inhibitors were comparable in potency to (or slightly more potent than) zanamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate. No cytotoxicity was seen with the compounds at concentrations of < or =1 mM in cell proliferation assays. The antiviral activity of RWJ-270201, chosen for clinical development, was studied in greater detail. Its potency and that of oseltamivir carboxylate decreased with increasing multiplicity of virus infection. Time-of-addition studies indicated that treatment with either compound needed to begin 0 to 12 h after virus exposure for optimal activity. Exposure of cells to RWJ-270201 caused most of the virus to remain cell associated, with extracellular virus decreasing in a concentration-dependent manner. This is consistent with its effect as a neuraminidase inhibitor. RWJ-270201 shows promise in the treatment of human influenza virus infections.

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