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submitted on 24.03.2020 and posted on 25.03.2020by Luke Adams, Lorna E. Wilkinson-White, Menachem J. Gunzburg, Stephen J. Headey, Martin J. Scanlon, Ben Capuano, Joel P. Mackay, Bradley Doak
The development of low-affinity fragment hits into higher affinity leads is a major hurdle in fragment-based drug design. Here we demonstrate an approach for the Rapid Elaboration of Fragments into Leads (REFiL) applying an integrated workflow that provides a systematic approach to generate higher-affinity binders without the need for structural information. The workflow involves the selection of commercial analogues of fragment hits to generate preliminary structure-activity relationships. This is followed by parallel microscale chemistry using chemoinformatically designed reagent libraries to rapidly explore chemical diversity. Upon completion of a fragment screen against Bromodomain-3 extra terminal (BRD3-ET) domain we applied the REFiL workflow, which allowed us to develop a series of tetrahydrocarbazole ligands that bind to the peptide binding site of BRD3-ET. With REFiL we were able to rapidly improve binding affinity >30-fold. The REFiL workflow can be applied readily to a broad range of protein targets without the need of a structure, allowing the efficient evolution of low-affinity fragments into higher affinity leads and chemical probes.