Design of BET Inhibitor Prodrugs with Superior Efficacy and Devoid of Systemic Toxicities

17 November 2020, Version 1


Prodrugs engineered for preferential activation in diseased versus normal tissues offer immense potential to improve the therapeutic index of preclinical and clinical-stage active pharmaceutical ingredients that either cannot be developed otherwise or whose efficacy or tolerability it is highly desirable to improve. Such approaches, however, often suffer from trial-and-error design, precluding predictive design and optimization. Here, using BET bromodomain inhibitors (BETi)—a class of epigenetic regulators with proven anti-cancer activity but clinical development hindered by systemic adverse effects–– we introduce a platform that overcomes these challenges. Through tuning of traceless linkers appended to a “brush prodrug” scaffold, we demonstrate that it is possible to correlate in vitro prodrug activation kinetics with in vivo tumor pharmacokinetics, leading to novel BETi prodrugs with enhanced anti-tumor efficacy and devoid of dose-limiting toxicities. This work has immediate clinical implications, introducing principles for the predictive design of prodrugs and potentially overcoming hurdles in drug development.


pro-drug delivery strategy
pro-drug activation
bottlebrush macromolecules
BET inhibitors BRD 4
BET inhibitor OTX 015
BET inhibitor
BET Inhibitors
triple negative breast cancer/TNBC
Triple negative breast Cancer
Targeted Therapy

Supplementary materials

ChemRxiv Supplementary Materials
ChemRxiv Additional Materials and Methods


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.