Linking ATP and allosteric sites to achieve superadditive binding with bivalent EGFR kinase inhibitors

19 September 2023, Version 2


Bivalent molecules consisting of groups connected through bridging linkers often exhibit strong target binding and unique biological effects. However, developing bivalent inhibitors with the desired activity is challenging due to the dual motif architecture of these molecules and the variability that can be introduced through differing linker structures and geometries. We report a set of alternatively linked bivalent EGFR inhibitors that simultaneously occupy the ATP substrate and allosteric pockets. Crystal structures show that initial and redesigned linkers bridging a trisubstituted imidazole ATP-site inhibitor and dibenzodiazepinone allosteric-site inhibitor proved successful in spanning these sites. The re-engineered linker yielded a compound that exhibited significantly higher potency (~60 pM) against the drug-resistant EGFR L858R/T790M and L858R/T790M/C797S, which was superadditive as compared with the parent molecules. The enhanced potency is attributed to factors stemming from the linker connection to the allosteric-site group and informs strategies to engineer linkers in bivalent agent design.


Kinase Inhibitor
Fragment-based drug discovery
X-ray crystallography
Epidermal growth factor receptor
Allosteric Inhibitors

Supplementary materials

Supplemental Information
Methods and Materials, Supporting Images, X-ray crystallography data, synthetic preparations and spectra.


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