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14 Feb 2019

Michael G. Thomas, Manu De Rycker, Myriam Ajakane, Sébastian Albrecht, Ana Isabel Álvarez-Pedraglio, Markus Boesche, Stephen Brand, Lorna Campbell, Juan Cantizani-Perez, Laura A. T. Cleghorn, Royston C. B. Copley, Sabrinia D. Crouch, Alain Daugan, Gerard Drewes, Santiago Ferrer, Sonja Ghidelli-Disse, Silvia Gonzalez, Stephanie L. Gresham, Alan P. Hill, Sean J. Hindley & 32 others

The leishmaniases are diseases that affect millions of people across the world, in particular visceral leishmaniasis (VL) which is fatal unless treated. Current standard of care for VL suffers from multiple issues and there is a limited pipeline of new candidate drugs. As such, there is a clear unmet medical need to identify new treatments. This paper describes the optimization of a phenotypic hit against Leishmania donovani, the major causative organism of VL. The key challenges were to balance solubility and metabolic stability while maintaining potency. Herein, strategies to address these shortcomings and enhance efficacy are discussed, culminating in the discovery of preclinical development candidate GSK3186899/DDD853651 (1) for VL.