Journal of Medicinal Chemistry vol:42 issue:3 pages:393-399
New substituted-aryl phosphoramidate derivatives of the anti-HIV drug d4T were synthesized as membrane-soluble intracellular prodrugs for the free bioactive phosphate to establish relationship(s) between compound structure and in vitro antiviral activity. The majority of compounds demonstrated an elevation of in vitro potency relative to that of the parent nucleoside, and unlike d4T, all retained full activity in thymidine kinase-deficient cells. The compound bearing a p-chloro aryl group (8e) expressed nanomolar activity in vitro, a 14-fold increase in activity relative to that of the unsubstituted phosphoramidate (100-fold compared to d4T). An assay using pig liver esterase was used to establish the stability of the compounds to enzymatic degradation. While there was no apparent correlation between in vitro activity and half-life of enzymatic degradation, there was a close correlation between compound lipophilicity, determined by octanol/water partition coefficient, and in vitro potency. We suggest that substitutions made to the aryl moiety of the aryl phosphoramidate of d4T that result in enhancing lipophilicity may serve to increase the cellular uptake of the prodrug by passive diffusion, leading to the expression of antiviral potency at reduced prodrug concentrations.