Hepatitis B virus (HBV) capsid assembly modulators (CpAMs) have shown promise as potent anti-HBV agents in both preclinical and clinical studies. Herein, we report our efforts in identifying novel CpAM hits via a structure-based virtual screening against a small molecule protein-protein interaction (PPI) library, and pharmacophore-guided compound design and synthesis. Curated compounds were first assessed in a thermal shift assay (TSA), and the TSA hits were further evaluated in an antiviral assay. These efforts led to the discovery of two structurally distinct scaffolds, ZW-1841 and ZW-1847, as novel HBV CpAM hits, both inhibiting HBV in single-digit µM concentrations without cytotoxicity at 100 µM. In ADME assays, both hits displayed extraordinary plasma and microsomal stability. Molecular modeling suggests that these hits bind to the Cp dimer interfaces in a mode well aligned with known CpAMs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant number R01AI121315 (to S.G.S. and Z.W.). S.G.S. acknowledges funding from the Nahmias-Schinazi Distinguished Chair in Research.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Capsid assembly modulators
- Hepatitis B virus
- Pharmacophore modelling
- Virtual screening, protein–protein interaction