AVN-322 is a Safe Orally Bio-Available Potent and Highly Selective Antagonist of 5-HT6R with Demonstrated Ability to Improve Impaired Memory in Animal Models

Background: In recent years, 5-hydroxytryptamine subtype 6 receptor (5-HT6 receptor, 5- HT6R) has emerged as a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of neuropathological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia. 5-HT6 receptors were hypothesized to be implicated in the processes of learning, memory, and cognition with 5-HT6R antagonists being effective in animal models of cognition and memory impairment. Several selective 5-HT6R ligands are currently undergoing clinical trials for treatment of AD.

Methods: We describe results of preclinical development of a novel and highly selective and potent 5- HT6R antagonist, AVN-322, as a clinical candidate for the treatment of AD to improve concurrent debilitation of memory and cognition in the AD patients, and schizophrenia as a substance with antipsychotic effect. In the manuscript, we present its in vitro and vivo efficacy, ADME, pharmacokinetics in animals and in humans, and toxicity.

Results: While having high binding affinity in medium picomolar range, the lead compound demonstrates substantially better selectivity index then the reference drug candidates currently being tested in clinical studies. AVN-322 showed high oral bioavailability and favorable blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration. In vivo testing revealed its clear cognition enhancing effect. AVN-322 significantly restored both scopolamine- and MK-801-induced cognitive dysfunction and demonstrated antipsychotic potential.

Conclusion: Taking into account its good safety profile and favorable pharmacokinetics, AVN-322 can be reasonably considered as a novel drug candidate for the treatment of neurological disorders such as AD and/or schizophrenia.

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