Currently available antipsychotics for schizophrenia are not effective for the treatment of all major symptoms associated with the disease and are associated with a number of dose-limiting adverse effects. Thus, there is a critical need to develop novel therapeutic agents for treatment of schizophrenia that have broader efficacy and fewer adverse effects than currently available medications. We propose studies aimed at discovery and optimization of novel drug candidates for treatment of schizophrenia that are mechanistically unrelated to currently available antipsychotic agents and have the potential to provide efficacy in treatment of all major symptom clusters of this disease. The most advanced of these programs is focused on discovery of novel compounds that inhibit the glycine transporter 1, GlyT1. Glycine is a co-agonist with glutamate at the A/-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptors and provides an excellent approach to increasing NMDA receptor function while maintaining activity dependence of NMDA receptor activation. A number of clinical and animals studies suggest that GlyTI inhibitors have exciting potential for treatment of schizophrenia. To date, we have optimized novel scaffolds of GlyTI inhibitors with excellent pharmacokinetic and brain penetration profiles, robust efficacy in animal models, and lack significant toxicity. A second program is focused on discovery and optimization of highly selective allosteric agonists of the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor. We have established a novel approach to development of highly selective agonists of the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor by targeting allosteric sites and have shown that these compounds have robust efficacy in animal models that predict efficacy in treatment of schizophrenia. Both the Ml and GlyTI programs are based on strong validation from animal models and exciting clinical data that provide support for pursuing these novel targets. Our overall objective is to optimize drug candidates that interact with each of these targets. Ultimately, we will work with industry partners to develop these drug candidates in clinical studies. We will begin with lead optimization of GlyTI inhibitors, followed by hit-tc-lead and lead optimization of Ml allosteric agonists with a goal of advancing molecules that interact with each of these to a stage where they are ready for preclinical and clinical development. Finally, we have a pipeline of additional targets for which we have chemically diverse verified hits and early drug leads that are poised for full lead optimization efforts. While not specifically included in this application, this provides a robust discovery pipeline that will be important for the future directions of this program.

Public Health Relevance

REVELANCE: The major goal of this program is to discover novel drug candidates that will ultimately advance into clinical testing for treatment of schizophrenia. If successful; novel drugs that come from this effort could lead to a fundamental breakthrough in the treatment of this disorder and could dramatically improve the standard of care for this devastating disorder.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-F)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
United States
Zip Code
Wood, Michael R; Noetzel, Meredith J; Poslusney, Michael S et al. (2016) Challenges in the development of an M4 PAM in vivo tool compound: The discovery of VU0467154 and unexpected DMPK profiles of close analogs. Bioorg Med Chem Lett :
Dean, Brian; Hopper, Shaun; Conn, P Jeffrey et al. (2016) Changes in BQCA Allosteric Modulation of [(3)H]NMS Binding to Human Cortex within Schizophrenia and by Divalent Cations. Neuropsychopharmacology 41:1620-8
Gould, Robert W; Nedelcovych, Michael T; Gong, Xuewen et al. (2016) State-dependent alterations in sleep/wake architecture elicited by the M4 PAM VU0467154 - Relation to antipsychotic-like drug effects. Neuropharmacology 102:244-53
Ghoshal, A; Rook, J M; Dickerson, J W et al. (2016) Potentiation of M1 Muscarinic Receptor Reverses Plasticity Deficits and Negative and Cognitive Symptoms in a Schizophrenia Mouse Model. Neuropsychopharmacology 41:598-610
Panarese, Joseph D; Cho, Hykeyung P; Adams, Jeffrey J et al. (2016) Further optimization of the M1 PAM VU0453595: Discovery of novel heterobicyclic core motifs with improved CNS penetration. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 26:3822-5
Kurata, Haruto; Gentry, Patrick R; Kokubo, Masaya et al. (2015) Further optimization of the M5 NAM MLPCN probe ML375: tactics and challenges. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 25:690-4
Pancani, Tristano; Foster, Daniel J; Moehle, Mark S et al. (2015) Allosteric activation of M4 muscarinic receptors improve behavioral and physiological alterations in early symptomatic YAC128 mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:14078-83
Gould, R W; Dencker, D; Grannan, M et al. (2015) Role for the M1 Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor in Top-Down Cognitive Processing Using a Touchscreen Visual Discrimination Task in Mice. ACS Chem Neurosci 6:1683-95
Maltese, Marta; Martella, Giuseppina; Madeo, Graziella et al. (2014) Anticholinergic drugs rescue synaptic plasticity in DYT1 dystonia: role of M1 muscarinic receptors. Mov Disord 29:1655-65
Jones, Carrie K; Sheffler, Douglas J; Williams, Richard et al. (2014) Novel GlyT1 inhibitor chemotypes by scaffold hopping. Part 1: development of a potent and CNS penetrant [3.1.0]-based lead. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 24:1067-70

Showing the most recent 10 out of 33 publications