PTEFb/CDK9 mediated transcription of short-lived anti-apoptotic survival proteins like Mcl-1 and Myc plays a critical role in cancer cell growth and survival in various tumor entities including AML. In addition, these survival proteins play important roles in the development of resistance to chemotherapy. We previously disclosed the preclinical profile of BAY 1143572, the first selective, orally available PTEFb/CDK9 inhibitor that entered clinical development [1-3]. BAY 1143572 had low nanomolar activity against PTEFb/CDK9, an at least 50-fold selectivity against other CDKs in enzymatic assays and broad anti-proliferative activity against a panel of tumour cell lines with sub-micromolar IC50 values. BAY 1143572 also showed single agent in vivo efficacy at tolerated doses in various xenograft tumour models in mice and rats upon once daily oral administration. To fully explore future treatment options using selective PTEFb/CDK9 inhibitors we initiated a follow-up program to identify novel PTEFb/CDK9 inhibitors for treatment of cancer with increased potency enabling i.v. treatment of patients. Extensive lead optimisation efforts, including various scaffold hops, led to the identification of BAY 1251152. In comparison to oral BAY 1143572, BAY 1251152 shows significantly increased biochemical (IC50 CDK9 = 3 nM) and cellular potency (IC50 MOLM13 = 29 nM), increased selectivity against CDK2 as well as high permeability and no efflux. The significantly reduced therapeutic dose and high solubility of BAY 1251152 enable the desired i.v. application. BAY 1251152 demonstrated excellent efficacy upon i.v. treatment in xenograft models (e.g. MOLM13) in mice and rats. BAY 1251152 is currently being evaluated in Phase I studies (NCT02635672; NCT02745743) to determine the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and initial pharmacodynamic biomarker response in patients with advanced cancer. This presentation will highlight the key learnings from our PTEFb/CDK9 i.v. lead optimization program and disclose the structure of BAY 1251152 for the first time. [1]: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 3022. [2]: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr DDT02-02. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-DDT02-02. [3]: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 2828. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-2828

Citation Format: Ulrich T. Luecking, Arne Scholz, Dirk Kosemund, Rolf Bohlmann, Hans Briem, Philip Lienau, Gerhard Siemeister, Ildiko Terebesi, Kirstin Meyer, Katja Prelle, Ray Valencia, Stuart Ince, Franz von Nussbaum, Dominik Mumberg, Karl Ziegelbauer, Michael Brands. Identification of potent and highly selective PTEFb inhibitor BAY 1251152 for the treatment of cancer: from p.o. to i.v. application via scaffold hops [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 984. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-984