AVN-211, Novel and Highly Selective 5-HT6 Receptor Small Molecule Antagonist, for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Within the past decade several novel targets have been indicated as key players in Alzheimer-type dementia and associated conditions, including a “frightening” memory loss as well as severe cognitive impairments. These proteins are deeply implicated in crucial cell processes, e.g., autophagy, growth and progression, apoptosis, and metabolic equilibrium. Since recently, 5-HT6R has been considered as one of the most prominent biological targets in AD drug therapy. Therefore, we investigated the potential procognitive and neuroprotective effects of our novel selective 5-HT6R antagonist, AVN-211. During an extensive preclinical evaluation the lead compound demonstrated a relatively high therapeutic potential and improved selectivity toward 5-HT6R as compared to reference drug candidates. It was thoroughly examined in different in vivo behavioral models directly related to AD and showed evident improvements in cognition and learning. In many cases, the observed effect was considerably greater than that determined for the reported drugs and drug candidates, including memantine, SB-742457, and Lu AE58054, evaluated under the same conditions. In addition, AVN-211 showed a similar or better anxiolytic efficacy than fenobam, rufinamide, lorazepam, and buspirone in an elevated plus-maze model, elevated platform, and open field tests. The compound demonstrated low toxicity and no side effects in vivo, an appropriate pharmacokinetic profile, and stability. In conclusion, AVN-211 significantly delayed or partially halted the progressive decline in memory function associated with AD, which makes it an interesting drug candidate for the treatment of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Advanced clinical trials are currently under active discussion and in high priority.

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