Synthesis, Binding Mode, and Antihyperglycemic Activity of Potent and Selective (5-Imidazol-2-yl-4-phenylpyrimidin-2-yl)[2-(2-pyridylamino)ethyl]amine Inhibitors of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3

In an effort to identify new antidiabetic agents, we have discovered a novel family of (5-imidazol-2-yl-4-phenylpyrimidin-2-yl)­[2-(2-pyridylamino)­ethyl]­amine analogues which are inhibitors of human glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). We developed efficient synthetic routes to explore a wide variety of substitution patterns and convergently access a diverse array of analogues. Compound 1 (CHIR-911, CT-99021, or CHIR-73911) emerged from an exploration of heterocycles at the C-5 position, phenyl groups at C-4, and a variety of differently substituted linker and aminopyridine moieties attached at the C-2 position. These compounds exhibited GSK3 IC50s in the low nanomolar range and excellent selectivity. They activate glycogen synthase in insulin receptor-expressing CHO-IR cells and primary rat hepatocytes. Evaluation of lead compounds 1 and 2 (CHIR-611 or CT-98014) in rodent models of type 2 diabetes revealed that single oral doses lowered hyperglycemia within 60 min, enhanced insulin-stimulated glucose transport, and improved glucose disposal without increasing insulin levels.