MDM2–p53 inhibition may be effective in glioblastoma (GBM). This study evaluates the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics of BI-907828, a potent antagonist of MDM2, in GBM, and demonstrates a translational paradigm with a focus on a unified “Delivery – Potency – Efficacy” relationship in drug development for central nervous system(CNS) tumors. BI-907828 was tested for cytotoxicity and MDM2–p53 pathway inhibition. Systemic pharmacokinetics and transport mechanisms controlling CNS distribution were evaluated in mice. BI-907828 free fractions in cell media, mouse and human specimens were measured to determine “active” unbound concentrations. Efficacy measures, including overall survival and target expression were assessed in mouse orthotopic GBM xenografts. BI-907828 exhibited potent inhibition of MDM2–p53 pathway and promoted cell death in GBM TP53 wild-type cells. MDM2-amplified cells are highly sensitive to BI-907828, with an effective unbound concentration of 0.1 nmol/L. The CNS distribution of BI-907828 is limited by blood–brain barrier (BBB) efflux mediated by P-gp, resulting in a Kp,uu_brain of 0.002. Despite this seemingly “poor” BBB penetration, weekly administration of 10 mg/kg BI-907828 extended median survival of orthotopic GBM108 xenografts from 28 to 218 days (P < 0.0001). This excellent efficacy can be attributed to high potency, resulting in a limited, yet effective, exposure in the CNS. These studies show that efficacy of BI-907828 in orthotopic models is related to high potency even though its CNS distribution is limited by BBB efflux. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the “Delivery – Potency – Efficacy” relationship is warranted in drug discovery and development, especially for treatment of CNS tumors.

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