Rapid Elaboration of Fragments into Leads Applied to Bromodomain-3 Extra Terminal Domain

25 March 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


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.


Fragment-based drug design (FBDD)
Medicinal Chemistry
NMR spectroscopy
Off-rate screening
Surface plasmon resonance

Supplementary materials

BRD3ET REFiL Supp Info ChemRxiv


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.