Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MULTINUCLEAR COMPLEXES AND THEIR PREPARATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/123409
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Multinuclear complexes and methods for preparing them are provided. The discrete multinuclear complexes include a one or more transition metals and a radioisotope having the same coordination geometry as the transition metal. A bridging ligand is coordinated to the transition metal and the radioisotope to link the transition metal and the radioisotope and pendent ligands are coordinated to each of the transition metal and the radioisotope to stabilise the complex. The multinuclear complexes may include a radioisotope or radioelement that can be detected by medical equipment and may find use in therapy and/or the diagnosis of disease in patients.

Inventors:
ROODT, Andreas (1 Gladstone Road, NoordhoekBloemfontein, 9301, ZA)
ALBERTO, Roger Ariel (St. Georgenstrasse 54, Winterthur, CH-8400, CH)
FREI, Angelo (Staedeliweg 3a, 9220 Bischofszell, CH)
MOKOLOKOLO, Petrus Pennie (13589 Koe Koe Village, Kroonstad 9499, ZA)
BOLLINGER, Robin Kim (5430 Wettingen, 8006 Zürich, CH)
BRINK, Alice (Mooiwater 2799, 28 Abrahamskraal Road, Bainsvlei 9338, ZA)
KAMA, Dumisani Vincent (1766 Moalosi Street, Phahameng, Bultfontein 9670, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2018/060506
Publication Date:
June 27, 2019
Filing Date:
December 21, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE (205 Nelson Mandela Drive, Park WestBloemfontein, 9301, ZA)
UNIVERSITÄT ZÜRICH (Prorektorat VNW, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zürich, CH)
International Classes:
C07B59/00; A61K51/00; A61P35/00; C07F13/00
Other References:
KAREN E. LINDER ET AL: "Neutral, seven-coordinate dioxime complexes of technetium(III): synthesis and characterization", INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, vol. 29, no. 13, 1 June 1990 (1990-06-01), EASTON, US, pages 2428 - 2434, XP055566905, ISSN: 0020-1669, DOI: 10.1021/ic00338a009
ELISABETH OEHLKE ET AL: "Synthesis, Characterization, and Structures of R 3 EOTcO 3 Complexes (E = C, Si, Ge, Sn, Pb) and Related Compounds", INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, vol. 49, no. 7, 5 April 2010 (2010-04-05), EASTON, US, pages 3525 - 3530, XP055566967, ISSN: 0020-1669, DOI: 10.1021/ic1001094
JOHN BALDAS ET AL: "Synthesis and Structure of Di-p-0x0 Nitridotechnetium(v1) Dimers and a Monomeric Nitridotechnetium(v) Mixed- ligand Complex *", J. CHEM. SOC. DALTON TRANS, 1 January 1992 (1992-01-01), XP055566923, Retrieved from the Internet
BASIL KANELLAKOPULOS ET AL: "Darstellung und Röntgenstrukturanalyse des polymeren Trimethylstannylpertechnetats", ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR NATURFORSCHUNG B, vol. 46, no. 1, 1 January 1991 (1991-01-01), pages 15 - 18, XP055566948
G. JAOUEN; A. VESSIERES; S. TOP, CHEM. SOC. REV., vol. 44, 2015, pages 8802 - 8817
E. HILLARD; A. VESSIERES; L. THOUIN; G. JAOUEN; C. AMATORE, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. EDIT, vol. 45, 2006, pages 285 - 290
S. TOP; A. VESSIERES; P. PIGEON; M. N. RAGER; M. HUCHE; E. SALOMON; C. CABESTAING; J. VAISSERMANN; G. JAOUEN, CHEMBIOCHEM, vol. 5, 2004, pages 1104 - 1113
D. DIVE; C. BIOT, CHEMMEDCHEM, vol. 3, 2008, pages 383 - 391
M. NAVARRO; W. CASTRO; C. BIOT, ORGANOMETALLICS, vol. 31, 2012, pages 5715 - 5727
F. DUBAR; C. SLOMIANNY; J. KHALIFE; D. DIVE; H. KALAMOU; Y. GUERARDEL; P. GRELLIER; C. BIOT, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. ED., vol. 52, 2013, pages 7690 - 7693
S. BLANCK; J. MAKSIMOSKA; J. BAUMEISTER; K. HARMS; R. MARMORSTEIN; E. MEGGERS, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. EDIT., vol. 51, 2012, pages 5244 - 5246
A. C. KOMOR; J. K. BARTON, J. AM. CHEM. SOC., vol. 136, 2014, pages 14160 - 14172
G. GASSER; N. METZLER-NOLTE, CURR. OPIN. CHEM. BIOL., vol. 16, 2012, pages 84 - 91
A. LEONIDOVA; G. GASSER, ACS CHEM. BIOL., vol. 9, 2014, pages 2180 - 2193
D. CAN; B. SPINGLER; P. SCHMUTZ; F. MENDES; P. RAPOSINHO; C. FERNANDES; F. CARTA; A. INNOCENTI; I. SANTOS; C. T. SUPURAN, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. EDIT., vol. 51, 2012, pages 3354 - 3357
S. IMSTEPF; V. PIERROZ; R. RUBBIANI; M. FELBER; T. FOX; G. GASSER; R. ALBERTO, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. EDIT., vol. 55, 2016, pages 2792 - 2795
C. YVON; A. J. SURMAN; M. HUTIN; J. ALEX; B. O. SMITH; D. L. LONG; L. CRONIN, ANGEW. CHEM. INT. ED., vol. 53, 2014, pages 3336 - 3341
L. E. JOYCE; J. D. AGUIRRE; A. M. ANGELES-BOZA; A. CHOUAI; P. K. L. FU; K. R. DUNBAR; C. TURRO, INORG. CHEM., vol. 49, 2010, pages 5371 - 5376
N. I. SHTEMENKO; H. T. CHIFOTIDES; K. V. DOMASEVITCH; A. A. GOLICHENKO; S. A. BABIY; Z. Y. LI; K. V. PARAMONOVA; A. V. SHTEMENKO;, J. INORG. BIOCHEM., vol. 129, 2013, pages 127 - 134
H. T. CHIFOTIDES; K. R. DUNBAR, ACC. CHEM. RES., vol. 38, 2005, pages 146 - 156
E. ORHAN; A. GARCI; B. THERRIEN, INORG. CHIM. ACTA, vol. 461, 2017, pages 78 - 83
E. ORHAN; A. GARCI; T. RIEDEL; M. SOUDANI; P. J. DYSON; B. THERRIEN, J. ORGANOMET. CHEM., vol. 803, 2016, pages 39 - 44
E. ORHAN; A. GARCI; T. RIEDEL; P. J. DYSON; B. THERRIEN, J. ORGANOMET. CHEM., vol. 815-816, 2016, pages 53 - 58
F. F. LI; J. G. COLLINS; F. R. KEENE, CHEM. SOC. REV., vol. 44, 2015, pages 2529 - 2542
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VON SEIDELS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEYS (P O Box 440, Century City, 7446 Cape Town, 7446, ZA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A multinuclear complex comprising:

a transition metal;

a radioisotope having the same coordination number as the transition metal; a bridging ligand coordinated to the transition metal and the radioisotope to link the transition metal and the radioisotope; and

pendent ligands coordinated to each of the transition metal and the radioisotope.

2. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the radioisotope is an isotope of a transition metal or an isotope of an element of the same group in the periodic table as the transition metal.

3. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the radioisotope is technetium-99m (99mTc), rhenium-186 (186Re) or rhenium-188 (188Re).

4. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the transition metal is selected from the group consisting of manganese (Mn), technetium (Tc) and rhenium (Re).

5. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 4, wherein when the transition metal is rhenium, it is a /3-radiation emitting isotopes of rhenium selected from rhenium-186 (186Re) or rhenium-188 (188Re), and when the transition metal is technetium it is the technetium- 99 (99Tc) isotope.

6. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, having the general formula [99mTcM(p2-L)2(CO)6], wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc, and

p2-L is a bidentate bridging ligand having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulphur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom, a carbon atom and a phosphorus atom, wherein one of the coordinating atoms of the bidentate ligand coordinates to both 99mTc and M as a bridging coordinating atom and the other coordinating atom of the same bidentate ligand coordinates to one of 99mTc or M.

7. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 6, wherein the bidentate ligand (p2-L) is a Schiff base chelator. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 6 or claim 7, having the general formula (I):

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc,

Ra, Rb and Rc are each independently a hydrogen, an optionally substituted C1- C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein Ra, Rb and Rc each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or Ra and Rb together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle,

or Ra, Rb and Rc together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

9. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6 having the general formula (III):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc,

A is oxygen, sulfur or selenium;

Ra, Rb and Rc are each independently a hydrogen, an optionally substituted C1- C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein Ra, Rb and Rc each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or Ra and Rb together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle,

or Ra, Rb and Rc together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

10. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 8 or claim 9, wherein the halogen is selected from the group consisting of fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.

11. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 8 to 10, wherein the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon is selected from the group consisting of naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene.

12. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 8 to 11 , wherein a pendent functional group on the aromatic structure of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon includes one or more hetero atoms selected from the group consisting of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium and phosphorus.

13. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 8 or claim 9, wherein one or more Ra, Rb and Rc alone or together is functionalized with a biologically active functionality of known affinity for a selected receptor.

14. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8 having the general formula (II):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, Ri is an m-toluene group, a cyclopentane group, or an ethylbenzene group and R2 is hydrogen or a methyl group. 15. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 6, wherein the bidentate ligand (m2-I_) is a quinoline-based chelator.

16. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 15 having the general formula (IV)

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc;

A is oxygen, sulfur or selenium; and

R2a to R7a are each independently a hydrogen, halogen, nitro, nitrile, amine, carboxylate, aldehyde, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R2a to R7a each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or R2a to R7a together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

17. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5 having the general formula [99mTcM202(p.L)2(LL)6], wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc;

P-L is a bridging ligand selected from oxides (02_) or sulphides (S2_); and

LL is a bidentate pendent ligand separately coordinated to each of 99mTc and M and having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulphur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom, a carbon atom and a phosphorus atom. 18. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 17 having the general formula (V):

wherein

at least one of Mi, M2 or M3 is 99mTc and the remaining metal centres of Mi, M2 or

M3 are Mn, Re or Tc or any combination thereof;

A is an oxygen, sulfur or selenium atom; and

R2a to R7a are each independently a hydrogen, halogen, nitro, nitrile, amine, carboxylate, aldehyde, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R2a to R7a each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or R2a to R7a together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

19. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 16 or claim 18, wherein one or more of R2a to R7a, separately or together, is a biologically active functionality of known affinity for a selected receptor. 20. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 16 or claim 18, wherein R2a is an amino group (-NH2) and R3a to R7a are hydrogen; or R2a to R4a and Rea are hydrogen and Rsa and R7a are chlorine and; or R2a to Rea are hydrogen and R7a is a thiol (-SH).

21. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, having the general formula: [99mTcM3(L)4(CO)i2], wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, and L is a bridging ligand having a coordinating atom selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, and a selenium atom.

22. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 21 , having a cubane structure and the general formula (VI):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and L is a monodentate bridging ligand having a coordinating atom selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, and a selenium atom.

23. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 21 or claim 22, wherein the bridging ligands (L) are selected from the group consisting of hydroxides (OH·), thiols (SH-), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-C10 selenolates.

24. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 23, wherein the C1-C10 alkoxides, C1-C10 thiolates and C1-C10 selenolates are functionalised with a bioactive or targeting moiety.

25. The multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 22 to 24, having the molecular formula [99mTcRe3(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] and the structural formula (VII):

26. A method of preparing a multinuclear complex by self-assembly in solution comprising: mixing a multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal with a mononuclear complex that includes a radioisotope of the same coordination number as the transition metal in a selected solvent.

27. The method as claimed in claim 26, wherein the multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal is anionic and the mononuclear complex that includes the radioisotope is cationic in solution and both the precursor complex and the complex including the radioisotope have octahedral coordination geometry.

28. The multinuclear complex as claimed in claim 26 or claim 27, wherein the radioisotope is technetium-99m (99mTc) and the transition metal is selected from the group consisting of manganese technetium and rhenium. 29. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 28, wherein the mononuclear precursor complex has the general molecular formula /ac-[M(X)3(CO)3]2 in solution, wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, X is Br when M is Re and X is Cl when M is Tc and the mononuclear complex including a radioisotope has the general molecular formula [99mTc(Y)3(CO)3]+ in solution, wherein Y is as neutral ligand selected from water (OH2) or a solvent molecule.

30. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 29, wherein the solvent is water, alcohol, acetonitrile, acetone or dimethylsulfoxide.

31. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 30, wherein the mixing occurs in the presence of a bidentate ligand to form the multinuclear complex of any one of claims 6 to 20, preferably in the presence of excess base and at elevated temperatures of between 60 °C and 90 °C.

32. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 30, in which the multinuclear complex of any one of claims 21 to 25 is formed in one step by adding the mononuclear precursor complex of the general molecular formula, fac-[M(Z)3(CO)3]+, wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L), to a solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula /ac-["mTc(Z)3(CO)3]+, wherein Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L) and mixing the resultant solution;

33. The method as claimed in any one of claims 26 to 30 in which the multinuclear complex of any one of claims 21 to 25 is formed by preassembly of a multinuclear precursor complex in the form of an anionic trinuclear complex that leaves a vertex for the coordination of the complex including the radioisotope, the trinuclear complex having the general molecular formula [M3(p2-L)3(p3-L)(CO)9]·, wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and p2.L is a monodentate ligand selected from the group consisting of hydroxides (OH-), thiols (SH_), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-C10 selenolates coordinated to two metal centres and p3.L is a monodentate ligand selected from the group consisting of hydroxides (OH-), thiols (SH-), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-C10 selenolates coordinated to three metal centres and adding the anionic trinuclear complex to a solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac-["mTc(Z)3(CO)3]+, wherein Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L) of the tetranuclear complex, and for the resultant solution to be mixed.

34. The method as claimed in claim 32 or claim 33, wherein the pH of the solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac-["mTc(Z)3(CO)3]+ is adjusted to be about 5, prior to mixing.

35. The method as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 34, wherein Z is OH2 and the solution is an aqueous solution.

36. A pharmaceutical composition comprising a multinuclear complex as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 25 and a diluent, excipient or carrier.

Description:
MULTINUCLEAR COMPLEXES AND THEIR PREPARATION

CROSS-REFERENCE(S) TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from South African provisional patent application number 2017/08729 filed on 21 December 2017, which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to multinuclear complexes and methods of preparing such multinuclear complexes. In particular, the invention relates to multinuclear transition metal complexes or clusters including a radionuclide or radioelement of the same or homologous elements.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Research in medicinal inorganic chemistry is dominated by mononuclear organometallic complexes or coordination compounds. Their mode of action is often metal-based as in the case of cisplatin, for example. Some mononuclear complexes have ligand-based reactivity, whereas other mononuclear complexes are designed for biological recognition of the entire complex structure according to its 3D-space occupation. For biological recognition, the complex is “chemically innocent” and designed to bind to specific receptors. The topology of such mononuclear complexes and the functional groups mimic pharmaceutical lead structures of known activity as in the case of ferrocifen, ferroquine or protein kinase inhibitors of the staurosporine type, for example (G. Jaouen, A. Vessieres, S. Top, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 8802-8817; E. Hillard, A. Vessieres, L. Thouin, G. Jaouen, C. Amatore, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit 2006, 45, 285-290; S. Top, A. Vessieres, P. Pigeon, M. N. Rager, M. Huche, E. Salomon, C. Cabestaing, J. Vaissermann, G. Jaouen, Chembiochem 2004, 5, 1 104-1 113; D. Dive, C. Biot, Chemmedchem 2008, 3, 383-391 ; M. Navarro, W. Castro, C. Biot, Organometallics 2012, 31, 5715-5727; F. Dubar, C. Slomianny, J. Khalife, D. Dive, H. Kalamou, Y. Guerardel, P. Grellier, C. Biot, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 7690-7693; S. Blanck, J. Maksimoska, J. Baumeister, K. Harms, R. Marmorstein, E. Meggers, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 2012, 51, 5244-5246). Most of these metal-containing drugs are based on group 8, 9 or 10 elements (A. C. Komor, J. K. Barton, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 14160-14172). Complexes of group 7 transition metals, particularly of the manganese triad involving the elements Mn, Tc and Re, are rarely investigated. It has been said that the chemistry of such complexes is not explored to a sufficient extent, in particular with respect to rhenium complexes (G. Gasser, N. Metzler-Nolte, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2012, 16, 84-91 ; A. Leonidova, G. Gasser, ACS Chem. Biol. 2014, 9, 2180-2193). Rhenium has two b-radiation emitting radionuclides, namely rhenium-186 ( 186 Re) and rhenium-188 ( 188 Re) used in medicine for targeted radiation therapy. Radiopharmaceuticals labelled with 186 · 188 Re are known. It has also been shown that peptides or antibodies can be labelled with 188 Re.

Like rhenium and manganese, technetium (Tc) is a group 7 element. Technetium-99m ( 99m Tc) is a metastable nuclear isotope of technetium-99 ( 99 Tc), which is itself an isotope of Tc. 99m Tc is the most commonly used medical radioisotope. It is used as a medical tracer as it mainly emits gamma rays with a photon energy of 140 keV, which is readily detected by medical equipment in diagnostic procedures. Technetium-99m has a physical half-life of approximately six hours and a biological half-life of approximately one day. Technetium-99m decays to technetium-99 with a half-life of 21 1 ,000 years. Due to its short half-life, technetium-99m is produced locally at hospitals in generators from the decay of molybdenum-99. Only small concentrations in the nanomolar range (about 10 -8 - 10 -6 M) are produced.

Cytotoxic, rhenium- or manganese-based mononuclear complexes, can be administered in combination with mononuclear complexes of 99m Tc as molecular imaging agents of identical structure to find use in molecule-based theranostics. For example, theranostics involves the use of macroscopic amounts of rhenium complexes for therapy and microscopic amounts of 99m Tc homologues for diagnosis. Both rhenium and technetium have low valences and form highly robust complexes. This has been showcased by the use of these complexes with carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and mitochondria targeting agents (D. Can, B. Spingler, P. Schmutz, F. Mendes, P. Raposinho, C. Fernandes, F. Carta, A. Innocenti, I. Santos, C. T. Supuran, R. Alberto, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 2012, 51, 3354-3357; S. Imstepf, V. Pierroz, R. Rubbiani, M. Felber, T. Fox, G. Gasser, R. Alberto, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 2016, 55, 2792-2795) .

Generally, the use of multinuclear complexes or coordination compounds in medicinal inorganic chemistry is uncommon. Only polyoxometalates (POMs) have been studied for their application in nanomedicine (C. Yvon, A. J. Surman, M. Hutin, J. Alex, B. O. Smith, D. L. Long, L. Cronin, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 3336-3341). The lack of interest in multinuclear complexes may be due to their complex synthesis and in vivo behaviour. Apart from the POMs, multinuclear complexes have been reported, mainly with Rh2 M species exhibiting a Rh-Rh single bond (L. E. Joyce, J. D. Aguirre, A. M. Angeles-Boza, A. Chouai, P. K. L. Fu, K. R. Dunbar, C. Turro, Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 5371-5376; N. I. Shtemenko, H. T. Chifotides, K. V. Domasevitch, A. A. Golichenko, S. A. Babiy, Z. Y. Li, K. V. Paramonova, A. V. Shtemenko, K. R. Dunbar, J. Inorg. Biochem. 2013, 129, 127-134; H. T. Chifotides, K. R. Dunbar, Acc. Chem. Res. 2005, 38, 146-156.), and supramolecular Ru-arene complexes (a) E. Orhan, A. Garci, B. Therrien, Inorg. Chim. Acta 2017, 461, 78-83; E. Orhan, A. Garci, T. Riedel, M. Soudani, P. J. Dyson, B. Therrien, J. Organomet. Chem. 2016, 803, 39-44; E. Orhan, A. Garci, T. Riedel, P. J. Dyson, B. Therrien, J. Organomet. Chem. 2016, 815-816, 53-58; F. F. Li, J. G. Collins, F. R. Keene, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44, 2529-2542).

As used herein, the term“multinuclear complex” refers to discrete polynuclear metal complexes or coordination compounds in which two or more metal-cations are bridged by a single coordinating atom, such as an oxygen for example, which may belong to a larger ligand system.

The preceding discussion of the background to the invention is intended only to facilitate an understanding of the present invention. It should be appreciated that the discussion is not an acknowledgment or admission that any of the material referred to was part of the common general knowledge in the art as at the priority date of the application.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention, there is provided a multinuclear complex comprising:

a transition metal;

a radioisotope of the same coordination number as the transition metal;

a bridging ligand coordinated to the transition metal and the radioisotope to link the transition metal and the radioisotope; and

pendent ligands coordinated to each of the transition metal and the radioisotope.

Further features provide for the radioisotope to be an isotope of a transition metal or an isotope of an element of the same group in the periodic table as the transition metal; for the radioisotope to be an isotope of the elements of group 7 of the periodic table; for the radioisotope to be technetium-99m ( 99m Tc), rhenium-186 ( 186 Re) or rhenium-188 ( 188 Re); for the transition metal to be selected from the group consisting of manganese (Mn), technetium (Tc) and rhenium (Re); for when the transition metal is rhenium, it to be /3-radiation emitting isotopes of rhenium, rhenium- 186 ( 186 Re) or rhenium-188 ( 188 Re) and when the transition metal is technetium, for it to be the technetium-99 ("Tc) isotope; and for the transition metal and the radioisotope to each have a coordination number of six and octahedral coordination geometry in the multinuclear complex.

A yet further feature provides for the multinuclear complex to be a dinuclear complex represented by the molecular formula [ 99m TcM(p2-L)2(CO)6],

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc, and

p 2 -L is a bidentate bridging ligand having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulphur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom, a carbon atom and a phosphorus atom, wherein one of the coordinating atoms of the bidentate ligand coordinates to both 99m Tc and M as a bridging coordinating atom and the other coordinating atom of the same bidentate ligand coordinates to one of 99m Tc or M.

A still further feature provides for the dinuclear complex to have anti or syn ligand geometry.

Still further features provide for the bidentate ligand (p2-L) to be a Schiff base chelator; and for the dinuclear complex to have the general formula (I):

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc,

R a , R b and R c are each independently a hydrogen, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R a , R b and R c each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or R a and R b together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle, or R a , R b and R c together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

A further feature provides for the dinuclear complex to have the general formula (II):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, Ri is an m-toluene group, a cyclopentane group, an ethylbenzene group or a bioactive or targeting moiety or a biological active functionality of known affinity for specific receptors and R 2 is hydrogen, a methyl group or a bioactive or targeting moiety or a biological active functionality of known affinity for specific receptors.

A yet further feature provides for the dinuclear complex to have the general formula (III):

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc,

A is oxygen, sulfur or selenium;

R a , R b and R c are each independently a hydrogen, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R a , R b and R c each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom,

or R a and R b together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle, or R a , R b and R c together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

Still further features provide for the halogen to be selected from the group consisting of fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine; for the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon to be selected from the group consisting of naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene; for a pendent functional group on the aromatic structure of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon to include one or more hetero atoms; for the heteroatoms to be selected from the group consisting of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium and phosphorus; and for the pendent functional group to be in the form of a mono-cyclopentadienyl or a Jb/s-cyclopentadienyl entity.

A further feature provides for the bidentate ligand, more specifically one or more of R a , R b or R c alone or together to be functionalized with a bioactive or targeting moiety, preferably a biologically active functionality of known affinity for a selected receptor.

Yet further features provide for the bidentate ligand (p2-L) to be a quinoline-based chelator; and for the multinuclear complex to be a dinuclear complex of the general formula (IV)

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc;

A is oxygen, sulfur or selenium; and

R 2a to R 7a are each independently a hydrogen, halogen, nitro, nitrile, amine, carboxylate, aldehyde, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R 2a to R 7a each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom, or R 2a to R 7a together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

A still further feature provides for R 2a - R 7a each independently to be a bioactive or targeting moiety, preferably a biologically active functionality of known affinity for a specific receptor.

A further feature provides for a trinuclear complex with a generally linear structure and the general formula [ 99m TcM 2 0 2 (p-L) 2 (LL) 6 ] wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc;

p.L is a bridging ligand selected from oxides (0 2_ ) or sulphides

(S 2 -); and

LL is a bidentate pendant ligand separately coordinated to each of 99m Tc and M and having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulphur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom, a carbon atom and a phosphorus atom.

Yet a further feature provides for the trinuclear complex to have the general formula (V):

wherein

at least one of Mi, M 2 or M 3 is 99m Tc and the remaining metal centres of Mi, M 2 or M 3 are Mn, Re or Tc or any combination thereof;

A is an oxygen, sulfur or selenium atom; and

R 2a to R 7a are as defined above.

A still further feature provides for R 2a to be an amino group (-NH 2 ) and R 3a to R 7a to be hydrogen; or R 2a to R 4a and R 6a to be hydrogen and R 5a and R 7a to be chlorine and; or R 2a to R 6a to be hydrogen and R 7a to be a thiol group (-SH). Further features provide for the multinuclear complex to be a tetranuclear complex represented by the molecular formula [ 99m TcM3(L)4(CO)i2], wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, and L is a bridging ligand having a coordinating atom selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, and a selenium atom.

A further feature provides for the tetranuclear complex to have a cubane structure and the general formula (VI):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and L is a monodentate bridging ligand having a coordinating atom selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, and a selenium atom.

Further features provide for the bridging ligands (L) to be selected from the group consisting of hydroxides (OH ), thiols (SH-), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-C10 selenolates; and for the C1- C10 alkoxides, C1-C10 thiolates and C1-C10 selenolates to be functionalised with a bioactive or targeting moiety.

A yet further feature provides for the tetranuclear complex to have the molecular formula [ 99m TcRe3(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] and the structure (VII):

In accordance with a second aspect, there is provided a method of preparing a multinuclear complex by self-assembly comprising:

mixing a multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal with a mononuclear complex that includes a radioisotope of the same coordination number as the transition metal in a selected solvent or solvent system.

Further features of this aspect provide for the multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal to be anionic and the mononuclear complex that includes the radioisotope to be cationic in solution; for the precursor complex and the complex that includes the radioisotope to have octahedral coordination geometry; for the radioisotope to be an isotope of a transition metal or an isotope of an element of the same group in the periodic table as the transition metal; for the radioisotope to be technetium-99m ( 99m Tc); and for the transition metal to be selected from the group consisting of manganese, technetium and rhenium.

Yet further features provide for the mononuclear precursor complex to have the general molecular formula fac-[M(X) 3 (CO) 3 ] 2 in solution, wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, X is Br when M is Re and X is Cl when M is Tc and for the mononuclear complex including a radioisotope to have the general molecular formula [ 99m Tc(Y) 3 (CO) 3 ] + in solution, wherein Y is as neutral ligand, preferably water (OH 2 ) or a solvent molecule; for the solvent to be water, alcohol, acetonitrile, acetone or dimethylsulfoxide, preferably acetonitrile, and for the mixing to occur in the presence of the abovementioned bidentate ligand (p 2 -L) to form the dinuclear complex as defined above; for the mixing step to be carried out in the presence of excess base, preferably triethylamine; and for the mixing step to be carried out at elevated temperatures; for the mixing step to be carried out at between about 60 °C and 90 °C, preferably about 80 °C for 3 hours.

Still further features provide for the preparation of a tetranuclear complex as defined above in one step by adding the mononuclear precursor complex of the general molecular formula, fac- [M(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + , wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H- L), to a solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac- [" m Tc(z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + , wherein Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L) and mixing the resultant solution; and for the pH of the solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac- [ 99m Tc(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + to be adjusted to be mildly acidic, preferably to be about 5, prior to adding the mononuclear precursor complex to it.

A further feature provides for Z to be OH 2 and for the solution to be an aqueous solution. Further features provide for the preparation of a tetranuclear complex as defined above by preassembly of a multinuclear precursor complex in the form of an anionic trinuclear complex that leaves a vertex for the coordination of the complex including the radioisotope; for the trinuclear complex to have the general molecular formula [M3(p2-L)3(p3-L)(CO)g] · , wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and p2-L is a monodentate ligand as defined above coordinated to two metal centres and p3-l_ is a monodentate ligand as defined above coordinated to three metal centres; for the anionic trinuclear complex to be added to a solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac-[ 99m Tc(Z) 3 (CO)3] + , wherein Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L) of the tetranuclear complex, and for the resultant solution to be mixed; and for the pH of the solution to be adjusted to be mildly acidic, preferably to be about 5, prior to adding the trinuclear precursor complex to it.

A further feature provides for Z to be OH 2 and for the solution to be an aqueous solution.

In accordance with a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a pharmaceutical composition including a multinuclear complex as described above, together with a diluent, excipient or carrier.

An embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a schematic showing two different strategies, pathway A and B, for forming multinuclear complexes with Re metal centres and a 99m T c fragment serving as a radiolabel;

Figure 2 is ORTEP diagrams of dinuclear complexes of 99 Tc, [ 99 Tc 2 (p 2 -0 A N-Ri) 2 (C0) 6 ]

(a) Ri=m-tol, R 2 =H (1); (b) Ri=cpent, R 2 =Me (2); and (c) Ri=EtPh, R 2 =Me (3) with the ellipsoids shown at a 50% probability level;

Figure 3 is DIAMOND plots of model dinuclear complexes of (a) syn-["Re2(p2- 2Ao c )2(00)b] and (b) syn-["Tc2(p2-tox)2(CO)6], which was difficult to obtain in large amounts and are modelled currently on Re, and (c) the likely structure of trans, trans, frans-[ 99m TcRe 2 0 2 (p-0) 2 (LL) 6 ] modelled on trans, trans, trans- [Re 3 0 2 (p-0)2(LL)6]; Figure 4 is a graph showing the Radio-High Performance Liquid Chromatography (radio-HPLC) b -trace of the dinuclear complex, [ 99 Tc2(p2-0 A N-m-tol)2(CO)6] (1), and the g-trace of the dinuclear complex, [ 99 Tc 99m Tc(p2-0 A N-rn-tol)2(CO)6];

Figure 5 is a graph showing HPLC traces of the crude reaction mixture for the preparation of [ 99m TcRe(p2-0 A N-rn-tol)2(CO)6] (5) containing mostly mononuclear Re complexes of the type /ac-[Re(0 A N-m-tol)(CO) 3 (Sol)] (4) due to the large excess of rhenium present and the HPLC traces with UV/vis- and b -detection of [ 99 Tc 2 (p2-0 A N-m-tol) 2 (CO)6] (1);

Figure 6 is a graph showing HPLC traces of [ 99m TcRe 3 (p3-OH) 4 (CO)i2] (9) and [Re 4 (p 3 - OH) 4 (CO)i2] (10) formed via a trinuclear precursor complex in terms of pathway A, the respective traces measured with UV/Vis detection for 10 and g-detection for 9; and

Figure 7 is a graph showing HPLC traces of [ 99m TcRe3(p3-OH) 4 (CO)i2] (9) and [Re 4 (p 3 - OH) 4 (CO)i2] (10) formed in one step via self-assembly of mononuclear precursors in terms of pathway B, the respective traces measured with UV/Vis detection for 10 and g-detection for 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION WITH REFERENCE TO THE DRAWINGS

A multinuclear organometallic complex or cluster including at least one transition metal centre of and at least one radioisotope metal centre with the same coordination geometry as the transition metal is provided. The complexes may include transition metals of group 7 in the periodic table such as manganese, technetium and rhenium. The transition metal centre(s) and radioisotope metal centre(s) may have octahedral coordination geometry and are connected by suitable bridging ligands. The remaining coordination sites surrounding the transition metal centre(s) and radioisotope metal centre(s) are occupied by stabilising pendent ligands. Ligands that stabilise the system are inert ligands and ligands that are not easily substituted such as carbonyl (CO) ligands, oxo (O 2- ) ligands or other suitable chelating ligands. If more labile pendent groups are included in the structure, it would induce the formation of polymeric structures rather than discrete complexes. Various isomers of the multinuclear complexes described herein may be prepared. These may be structural isomers such as complexes in which the ligands have anti or syn geometry, constitutional isomers such as solvates and stereoisomers with ligand-based stereochemistry.

The multinuclear complexes are prepared by self-assembly in solution. The multinuclear complexes form by mixing a multinuclear cluster or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal with a mononuclear complex that includes a radioisotope of the same coordination number so as to have the same coordination geometry as the transition metal in a suitable solvent system and in the presence of selected ligands. The multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex and the complex that includes a radioisotope may have octahedral coordination geometry. To form a multinuclear complex having a selected number of metal centres and a selected structure, a suitable bridging ligand may be added to the solution or may already be coordinated to the precursor transition complex and the radioisotope-containing complex. The solution must be at a selected pH to ensure coordination of the bridging ligands and to connect or self-assemble the precursor transition complex which may, for example, be anionic and the radioisotope-containing complex which may then be cationic in solution. An excess of the multinuclear or mononuclear precursor complex of a transition metal in solution drives the reaction forward so that multinuclear complexes that include the radioisotope form relatively rapidly together with complexes that do not include the radioisotope. The reaction rate is proportional to the square of the concentration (cone 2 ) of the excess precursor complex of the transition metal as per second order reaction kinetics.

The radioisotope may be an isotope of a transition metal element, a radioactive element, or an isotope of an element in the same group in the periodic table as the transition metal in the multinuclear complex. In certain embodiments, the transition metal may be Re or Tc and the radioisotope may be 99m Tc. When the metal is Re, it may be the radiotherapeutic 188 Re or 186 Re or a combination thereof in the same complex. In the event of the metal being Tc it may be the stable isotope "Tc. This isotope does not find use as a tracer or in therapy though. Nevertheless, the multinuclear complex can include one or both of 188 Re and 186 Re, in addition to "Tc. Where the complex includes one or both of 188 Re or 186 Re and the radioisotope is 99m Tc, the single multinuclear complex has both therapeutic and diagnostic potential and thus may be applied in theranostics.

The multinuclear complex may be a dinuclear complex represented by the molecular formula [" m TcM(p 2 -L) 2 (CO) 6 ], wherein M is manganese (Mn), rhenium (Re) or technetium (Tc) and any isotopes thereof (but not 99m Tc), and m 2 -I_ is a bidentate bridging ligand having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom and a phosphorus atom. One of the coordinating atoms of the bidentate ligand, preferably an oxygen, sulfur or selenium atom, coordinates to both 99m Tc and M as a bridging coordinating atom and the other coordinating atom, preferably a nitrogen or phosphorus atom of the same bidentate ligand coordinates to one of 99m Tc or M.

The bidentate ligand may be specifically designed as a macro-ligand including a bioactive or targeting moiety. The bioactive moiety may be therapeutic to provide further therapy in addition to the radiotherapeutic metal centre. Alternatively, a bioactive, therapeutic moiety may be included in the multinuclear complex specifically if the metal centre itself is not therapeutic. The bidentate ligand may also include a diagnostic or biological recognition moiety for diagnosis or targeted therapy.

The bidentate ligand may be a Schiff base chelator and the dinuclear complex may have the general formula (I):

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc,

R a , R b and R c are each independently a hydrogen, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl) such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group, and wherein R a , R b and R c each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom such as a fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine,

or R a and R b together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle,

or R a , R b and R c together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

In the event that R a , R b and R c together or independently contains an aromatic ring, the aromatic structure or a pendent functional group may include one or more hetero atoms selected from the group consisting of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium and phosphorus. The pendent functional group may also be in the form of a mono cyclopentadienyl with piano-stool geometry such as for example [CrCp(CO)s)], or a bis- cyclopentadienyl with either bent geometry such as [ZrCp 2 Cl 2 ], or with a sandwich geometry such as ferrocene ([FeCp 2 ], bis(n 5 -cyclopentadienyl)iron).

The chelator for the dinuclear Schiff base complex may be of the following general formula (la):

(la),

in which Ri or R 2 or both R 1 and R 2 are bioactive or targeting moieties, preferably biologically active functionalities with known affinity for a selected biological receptors.

As proof of concept, multinuclear complexes with Schiff base chelators in which R 1 is an m- toluene group, a cyclopentane group, or an ethylbenzene group and R 2 a hydrogen or a methyl group have been prepared. In particular, the dinuclear complex may have the general formula (II):

wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and R 1 and R 2 are as defined with reference to general formula (la).

Alternatively, the dinuclear complex may have the general formula (III) and the ligands (p 2 -L) may have either syn (illustrated in formula (III)) or anti symmetry relative to the 99m Tc-A-A-M plane,

wherein

M is Mn, Re or Tc,

A is oxygen, sulfur or selenium;

R a , R b and R c are each independently an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl) such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group, and wherein R a R b and R c each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine,

or R a and R b together is an optionally substituted cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted cyclic or polycyclic hydrocarbon or an optionally substituted heterocycle or polyheterocycle,

or R a , R b and R c together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon such as a naphthalene, biphenyl, anthracene and phenanthrene, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

A pendent functional group on the aromatic structure of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon may include one or more hetero atoms selected from oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium and phosphorus. Alternatively, the pendent functional group may be in the form of a mono- cyclopentadienyl or a Jb/s-cyclopentadienyl entity.

The dinuclear complex may be a syn complex in which the two bridging ligands (p -L) are cis to the 99m Tc-A-A-M plane, as indicated in formula (III), or an anti complex in which the two bridging ligands (p -L) are trans to the 99m Tc-A-A-M plane.

The chelator (Hquin) for the dinuclear quinoline complex may be of the following general formula

(Ilia): (ilia),

in which

A is is an oxygen, sulfur or selenium;

R 2a to R 7a are each independently a hydrogen, halogen, nitro, nitrile, amine, carboxylate, aldehyde, an optionally substituted C1-C10 linear or branched alkyl, an optionally substituted aryl, an optionally substituted heteroaryl, an optionally substituted poly(aryl), an optionally substituted poly(heteroaryl), an optionally substituted C5-C10 carbocyclyl or an optionally substituted heterocyclyl group and wherein R 2a to R 7a each optionally include one or more heteroatoms selected from the group consisting of an oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, selenium, or halogen atom, or R 2a to R 7a together is an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, an optionally substituted polycyclic aromatic heterocycle, an optionally substituted polycyclic hydrocarbon, or an optionally substituted polyheterocycle.

For example, R 2a may be an amino group (-NH 2 ) and R3 a to R 7a hydrogens. Alternatively, R 2a to R 4a and Re a may be hydrogens and Rs a and R 7a chlorine atoms. In other embodiment, R 2a to Re a are hydrogens and R 7a is a thiol group (-SH). In preferred embodiments, R 2a to R 7a may each independently be a bioactive or targeting moiety or R 2a to R 7a may each independently be a biological active functionality of known affinity for specific receptors. The dinuclear quinoline-based complex may have the general formula (IV)

wherein M, A and R 2a to R 7a are as defined above with reference to the general formula (Ilia) of the quinoline-based chelator.

The coordination geometry of the dinuclear complex (IV) may be syn, wherein the two bidentate bridging ligands (m 2 -I_) are cis to the 99m Tc-A-A-M plane, as indicated in the general formula (IV). Alternatively, the coordination geometry may be anti, wherein the two bridging ligands (m 2 -I_) are trans to the 99m Tc-A-A-M plane.

The dinuclear complexes may be prepared by mixing together the anionic, mononuclear metal complex, the cationic mononuclear 99m Tc complex and the bidentate ligand (m 2 -I_), such as the Schiff base chelator (la) or quinoline-based chelator (Ilia), in a solution, preferably in a polar solvent, more preferably an aprotic solvent of medium polarity such as acetonitrile. The absolute concentration of the precursor metal complex and the bidentate ligand governs the reaction. The precursor metal complex and bidentate ligand, typically present in a concentration range of about 0.01 to 0.03 mol/dm 3 are mixed with the 99m Tc complex typically having a concentration of 10 8 mol/dm 3 . To deprotonate one of the coordinating groups of the bidentate ligand, i.e. to form the monovalent coordinating O-atom, S-atom or Se-atom, a strong base, such as triethylamine, is added to the solution before mixing it. The mixing may be done at elevated temperatures of between 60 °C and 90 °C for a selected period, preferably about 80 °C for 3 hours.

In this manner, the dincuclear complex of general formulae (II) and (IV) are self-assembled by mixing excess precursor metal complex of the general molecular formula fac-[M(X)3(CO)3] 2 , wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, X is Br when M is Re and X is Cl when M is Tc, with the mononuclear complex including a radioisotope of the general molecular formula [ 99m Tc(Y)3(CO)3] + , wherein Y is as neutral ligand, preferably (OH2), in the presence of the above described precursor bidentate ligand (m 2 -I_) and a base. Y may also be a coordinating solvent molecule such as methanol and other alcohols, acetonitrile, acetone and dimethylsulfoxide, provided that the reactants and products are soluble in such a solvent. When the reactants and products are dissolved, Y as a neutral ligand, rapidly exchanges with these solvent molecules.

The multinuclear complex may be a trinuclear complex with three metal centres and a generally linear structure. The trinuclear complex may have the general formula [ 99m TcM 2 0 2 (p-L) 2 (LL) 6 ] in which M is Mn, Re or Tc; p.L is a bridging ligand selected from the group consisting of oxides (0 2_ ) and sulphides (S 2_ ); and LL is a bidentate pendent ligand having at least two coordinating atoms independently selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulphur atom, a selenium atom, a nitrogen atom, a carbon atom and a phosphorus atom, wherein both of the coordinating atoms of the bidentate ligand coordinates to either 99m Tc or M.

The trinuclear complex may have the general formula and structure (V):

wherein at least one of Mi, M 2 or M3 is 99m Tc, and the remaining metal centres of Mi, M 2 or M3 are Mn, Re or Tc or any combination thereof; A is an oxygen, sulfur or selenium atom; and R 2a -R7 a are as defined above with reference to the general formula of the quinoline-based ligand (Ilia).

The multinuclear complex may also be a tetranuclear complex represented by the molecular formula [ 99m TcM 3 (L) 4 (CO)i 2 ], wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc, and L is a monodentate ligand. The tetranuclear complex may have a monodentate ligand (L) that bridges three metal centres (M) or two metal centers and 99m Tc to form a cubane structure of the general formula (VI):

The monodentate ligand (L) may have a coordinating atom selected from the group consisting of an oxygen atom, a sulfur atom, and a selenium atom. Accordingly, the monodentate ligand may be selected from the group consisting of hydroxides (OH · ), thiols (SH-), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionnalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-

C10 selenolates. The C1-C10 alkoxides, C1-C10 thiolates and C1-C10 selenolates may also be functionalised with a bioactive or targeting moiety as previously described with reference to the bidentate ligands of the dinuclear complexes. The tetranuclear complex may have the molecular formula [ 99m TcRe3(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] and the following structure (VII):

A multinuclear complex with more than two metal centres may be prepared by one of two principal pathways schematically illustrated in Figure 1 :

A) the preparation of an incomplete fragment of the final, multinuclear complex followed by introduction of the radioisotope complex (the radiolabel) in a second step (pre assembly strategy, pathway A in Figure 1); or

B) the combination of all of the components to prepare the multinuclear complex in one step (self-assembly strategy, pathway B in Figure 1).

Tetranuclear complex via pathway A:

A tetranuclear complex may, for example, be prepared by preassembly of a multinuclear precursor complex as per pathway A, such as an anionic trinuclear complex that has a vertex available for the coordination of the complex including the radioisotope. The trinuclear complex is anionic and may have the general molecular formula [M 3 (p2-L)3(p3-L)(CO)9]-, wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and p2-L is a monodentate ligand coordinated to two metal centres and m 3. I_ is a monodentate ligand coordinated to three metal centres. The monodentate ligands, m 2. I_ and m 3 -I_, may be hydroxides (OH-), thiols (SH _ ), optionally functionalised C1-C10 alkoxides, optionally functionalised C1-C10 thiolates and optionally functionalised C1-C10 selenolates which are present in the precursor mononuclear complexes (fragments) that the trinuclear complex is built from stepwise.

An excess of anionic trinuclear complex, typically about 0.005-0.02 mol/dm 3 , may be added to a solution of the precursor radiolabel complex, i.e. the cationic, mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula /ac-[" m Tc(Z)3(CO)3] + , wherein Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand

(H-L) of the resultant tetranuclear complex. The solvent is preferably a polar solvent. It should be noted that whilst fac-[" m Tc(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + is in solution, Z may also be a coordinating solvent molecule, provided that the complex and eventual products formed are soluble in the solvent. Solvents such as methanol and other alcohols, acetonitrile, acetone and dimethylsulfoxide may be used, which results in a rapid replacement of Z by the relevant solvent molecule.

To form a complex with the general molecular formula [ 99m TcM 3 (p 3 -OH) 4 (CO)i 2 ], in which M is Mn, Re or Tc and the bridging ligand (L) is a hydroxide, the“leaving” ligand, Z, is water coordinated via the oxygen-atom (OH 2 ) and the solution of the radiolabel complex (radioisotope containing complex) is preferably an aqueous solution. The pH of the aqueous solution of the precursor radiolabel complex, /ac-[ 99m Tc(OH 2 ) 3 (CO) 3 ] + , is adjusted to be mildly acidic, preferably to be about 5, prior to the addition of the trinuclear complex to it. After the N 2 purged anionic trinuclear complex is added to the aqueous solution of the cationic radiolabel complex, self-assembly of the tetranuclear complex occurs quite rapidly, especially when the solution is stirred at elevated temperatures of 100 °C, for example, for about 10 minutes.

Tetranuclear complex via pathway B:

A tetranuclear complex can also be formed in one step by adding the mononuclear precursor complex of the general molecular formula, fac-[M(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + , wherein M is Mn, Re or Tc and Z is a protonated monodentate bridging ligand (H-L), to a solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula fac-[" m Tc(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + in which Z is the same as in the mononuclear precursor complex or is a coordinating solvent molecule, preferably in a polar solvent, and mixing the resulting solution. The complex fac-[M(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + is added in excess of the radiolabel complex, fac-[" m Tc(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + which is only available in nanomolar concentration ranges. The complex, fac-[M(Z) 3 (CO) 3 ] + , is typically added to the solution in an amount of about 0.01-0.03 mol/dm 3 .

To form the tetranuclear complex [ 99m TcM 3 (p 3 -OH) 4 (CO)i 2 ], in which M is Mn, Re or Tc and the bridging ligand is a hydroxide, the radiolabel complex is dissolved in an aqueous solution and Z is OH 2 SO that the mixing and self-assembly occurs in the aqueous solution . The pH of the aqueous solution of the mononuclear complex of the general molecular formula /ac-[ 99m Tc(OH 2 ) 3 (CO) 3 ] + may be adjusted to be mildly acidic, preferably to be about 5, prior to adding the mononuclear precursor complex to it and mixing it.

The multinuclear complexes described herein may find particular use in treating a disease, diagnosing a disease or both treating and diagnosing a diseases. The multinuclear complex may therefore be included in a pharmaceutical composition together with a suitable diluent, excipient or carrier.

EXAMPLES

1. Self-assembly of dinuclear complexes

Dinuclear complexes were prepared with Schiff bases and quinoline-based chelators as anchoring ligands.

The Schiff bases are generally of the form R c N=CR a R b , R c ¹ H) and may include an aromatic hydroxyl-group which is able to bridge two metal complex fragments. The imine moieties of such Schiff base ligands, in turn, coordinate to the respective metal centres and provide flexibility with respect to the nature of R c . R c may, for example, represent a targeting moiety or a cytotoxic fragment. a) The preparation of dinuclear "Tc complexes

When the Schiff bases, (£)-2-((m-tolylimino)methyl)phenol (hereinafter referred to as Hsal-m-tol), (£)-2-((cyclopentylimino)methyl)phenol (hereinafter referred to as H(5-Me)sal-cpent) and (£)- 5- methyl-2-((phenethylimino)methylphenol (hereinafter referred to as H(5-Me)sal-EtPhsal-hex) shown in Scheme 1 below were reacted with /ac-["TcCl3(CO)3] 2 in acetonitrile at elevated temperature, there was a rapid and substantially quantitative formation of the dinuclear complex [ 99 TC 2 (P2-O A N-RI) 2 (CO)6] (Ri=m-toluene 1 , =cyclopentane 2, = ethylphenyl 3; R 2 =H 1 , or methyl 2,3).

The quinoline chelators, 8-hydroxyquinoline, 2-amino-8-hydroxyquinoline, 5,7-dichloro-8- hydroxyquinoline and 8-thioquinoline were used to form Re and Tc dinuclear complexes using the same strategy as with the Schiff bases. Initial experiments with Tc-99 indicate the same behaviour as the Schiff bases.

All R^M if no! specified; quin-ox or fox;

2Aox; R 23 ~NH 2 ; 57CIOX: R Sa « R 7s « Ci)

Scheme 1. (I) Three functionalized Schiff base chelators utilized in the self-assembly study of 1 -3. (II) The reaction sequence for either of these Schiff base chelators. In a typical reaction, [NEt 4 ] 2 ["TcCl3(CO)3], the Schiff base ligand and Et3N is dissolved in acetonitrile and heated to 80 °C for 3 h. (Ill) Four functionalised quinoline chelators (Hquin) with H(ox) = 8-hydroxyquinoline, H(2Aox) = 2-amino-8-hydroxyquinoline, H(57Ciox) = 5,7-dichloro-8-hydroxyquinoline and H(tox) = 8-thioquinoline used in the preparation of Tc complexes (1 a). (IV) The reaction sequence for either of the quinoline chelators. Experimental section

Synthesis of 1-3 (indicated for Hsal-m-tol):

[NEt4]2["Tc(CO)3Cl3] (25mg, 0.05 mmol) was dissolved in acetonitrile (3 ml). Hsal-m-tol (16 mg, 0.07mmol) in acetonitrile (2 ml) was added to the solution. An excess of EtsN (0.1 ml) was added. After stirring at 80 °C for 3 h, the solution was filtered and the solvent removed under vacuum. The [Et 4 N]CI was removed by extraction with THF. The yellow product 1 was crystallised from a CH2CI2 solution (yield: 70%). Results

Radio-HPLC showed one single peak after the synthesis of compounds 1-3, and minute amounts of side products. The compounds were isolated and characterized by X-ray structure analysis. ORTEP diagrams of complexes 1-3 are shown in Figure 2.

Important geometric parameters determined from the crystal structures of 1 , 2 and 3, respectively are: Bond distances (A): Tc-C01 : 1.899(4), 1.892(4), 1.904(4); Tc-C02 1.922(4), 1.914(4), 1.919(4); Tc-C03 1.889(4), 1.899(4), 1.896(4); Tc-01 2.157(2), 2.158(2), 2.150(2); Tc-N1 2.188(3), 2.172(3), 2.195(3); Tc-01’ 2.189(2), 2.195(2), 2.192(2); Tc-Tc’ 2.4210(5), 3.4335(3), 3.4235(5); 01-01’ 2.6821 (3), 2.677(3), 2.671 (3). Bond angles (°): OC-Tc-CO: 85.7(1) to 88.1 (2) for nine angles; C02-Tc-N1 179.31 (13), 176.18(12), 176.13(13); 01-Tc-N1 81.08(9), 82.01 (9), 82.37(10); 01-Tc-OI 76.16(9), 75.87(8), 75.94(9); Tc-O1-Tc’103.81 (9), 104.12(8), 104.1 (1).

All three crystal structures confirm the rigidity of the planar dinuclear frame structure and illustrate the stability induced thereby. There is agreement of the internal geometric parameters such as the Tc-Tc’ and 01-OT bond distances, 01-Tc-OTand 01-Tc-OT angles, and the torsion angle Tc-01-Tc’-OT in the planar entity. The crystal structures confirm that the only relative atomic positions that vary are the substituents on the peripheral outer-sphere of the dinuclear compound. This variation is expected to influence the in vivo distribution significantly. Depending on the size of the R groups of the Schiff base chelators, molecular entities in the nanometer range can be prepared in this manner. In respect of complexes 1-3 , the dimensions of the dinuclear species when measured from the outer hydrogen atoms of R1- RT and R2-R2’ are 1.7 and 1.3 nm, respectively.

A mononuclear intermediate was not detected during the synthesis of complexes 1 -3. However, it must exist at some stage during the course of the reaction. It can thus be concluded that dimerization of such an intermediate occurs rapidly under the reaction conditions and much faster than the initial coordination of one Schiff base to one ["Tc(CO)3] + moiety.

The structures of the [ 99 Tc2(p2-ox/tox)2(CO)6] and the [ 99m TcRe(p2-ox/tox)2(CO)6] [ox = hydroxquinolinate; tox=thioquinolinate; Scheme 1 , sequence II, (b) and 0, respectively] are modelled on the corresponding rhenium complexes. Preliminary X-ray data confirms that the Tc- 99 and the Re complexes are isomorphous (isostructural) which allows structural assumptions as those shown in Figure 3. Typically, the mq-mq distance in [ 99 Tc 2 0 2 -ox) 2 (CO) 6 ] is only 2.67 A compared to the 3.13 A of the pS-pS distance in [ 99 Tc2(p2-tox)2(CO)6]. The corresponding M-M distances are 3.41 and 3.77 A, respectively. This results in a significant steric distortion in the M- A 2 p 2 -M (A=0, S) of 19° in [ 99 Tc2(p2-ox)2(CO)6] compared to only 3° in the [ 99 Tc2(p2-tox)2(CO)6], clearly observable within the structures. This distortion and steric strain is manifested in the relative instability of the ox complexes compared to the tox entities.

The structure in Figure 3(c) illustrates the coordination in an oligomeric by-product obtained from the [Re2(p2-tox)2(CO)6] synthesis. The trinuclear complex shown in Figure 3(c) can be obtained in reasonable yields of about 30-40% when the synthesis time is increased. Accordingly, the corresponding [ 99 Tc 3 0 2 (p-0) 2 (LL) 6 ] and [ 99m TcRe 2 0 2 (p-0) 2 (LL) 6 ] trimers are accessible. b) The preparation of di nuclear "Tc 99m Tc complexes

The same reaction used to form the above "Tc dimers was carried out in the presence of fac- [ 99m Tc(OH 2 )3(CO)3] + in acetonitrile.

Experimental section

Preparation of dinuclear 99m Tc"Tc complex (indicated for Hsal-m-tol):

A solution of /ac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + (0.5 ml) with a typical concentration of 10 -8 mol/dm 3 was dried under nitrogen flow, taken up in acetonitrile (1 ml) and added to a solution of [NEt4]2["Tc(CO)3Cl3] (40.1 mg, 0.073 mmol) in acetonitrile (3 ml). Hsal-m-tol (17 mg, 0.080 mmol) in acetonitrile (2 ml) and an excess of NEt3 (0.1 ml drops) were added and the solution was stirred at 80 °C for 3 h.

Results

The complex that includes 99m Tc was observed with a g-trace and had a retention time that is equal to the retention time of the complex that only includes 99 Tc, observed with a b-trace. To unambiguously determine the identity of the "Tc 2 and the "Tc 99m Tc compounds, they were co injected into HPLC and the retention times compared as shown in Figure 4. The equal retention times confirmed the formation of [ 99 Tc 99m Tc (p 2 -0 A N-Ri) 2 (C0) 6 ]. c) The preparation of dinuclear 99m Tc-Re complexes

Homologous complexes to the dinuclear complexes 1-3, but including one 99m Tc metal centre and one Re metal centre together with a large amount of Re 2 homologues were prepared. It was found that the dimerization reaction of fac-["TcCl3(CO)3] 2 does not take place with fac- [ReBr3(CO)3] 2 in the presence of the Schiff bases of Scheme 1 when carried out in an organic solvent or a water/MeOH mixture. The reaction in the presence of the Schiff ligand Hsal-m-tol yielded exclusively mononuclear complexes of the type fac-[Re(0 A N-m-tol)(CO) 3 (Sol)] (4) as per reaction a) in Scheme 2 below.

Scheme 2. Self-assembly of a dinuclear 99m TcRe complex. Reaction a) rhenium only yields mononuclear complexes (4). Reaction b) "Tc only yields dinuclear complexes (1-3) and reaction c) mixture of 99m Tc and Re gives mononuclear rhenium complexes (4) and mixed 99m TcRe complexes (5). Reaction conditions for c): [NEt4]2[ReBr3(CO)3] and /ac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + where dissolved in acetonitrile. Hsal-m-tol and NEt3 were added and the mixture was heated to 80 °C for 3 h.

The different behaviour of the Re and Tc homologues is believed to be due to substantially different reaction kinetics in low oxidations states rather than being due to thermodynamic features.

It was also tested how a mixture of fac-[ReBr3(CO)3] 2 and /ac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + would behave in acetonitrile in analogy to the 99 Tc reaction described above, and in the presence of the Schiff bases. Reaction c) in Scheme 2 was carried out under the same conditions as reaction a).

Experimental section

Preparation of dinuclear 99m TcRe complex (5): A solution of fac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + (0.5 ml) with a typical concentration of 10 8 mol/dm 3 was dried under nitrogen flow, taken up in acetonitrile (1 ml) and added to a solution of [NEt4]2[ReBr3(CO)3] (20 mg, 0.026 mmol) in acetonitrile (1 ml). Hsal-m-tol (6 mg, 0.028 mmol) in acetonitrile (1 ml) and an excess of NEt3 (8 drops) were added and the solution was stirred at 80 °C for 3 h.

Results

The reaction with Hsal-m-tol gave the mononuclear rhenium complex (4) in quantitative yields as well as the mixed-metal dinuclear complex [ 99m TcRe(p 2 -0 A N-m-tol) 2 (CO) 6 ] (5). Since the 99m Tc precursor complex is present at very low concentration in the nanomolar range, dimerization to yield the 99m Tc analogue of 1 is not expected for kinetic reasons. If the mononuclear Re complex 4 is the most stable form, dimerization with the 99m Tc fragment and an additional ligand is also not expected. Accordingly, the dinuclear complex 5 is thermodynamically favored over the monomer 4 which allows for the formation of a mixed-element dinuclear complex. HPLC traces of the crude reaction mixtures are shown in Figure 4.

Dinuclear complexes similar to [ 99m TcRe(p 2 -0 A N-rn-tol) 2 (CO) 6 ] (5) but where the Schiff base chelator is H(5-Me)sal-cpent or H(5-Me)sal-EtPhsal-hex as per Scheme 1 above were also prepared with similar results that were described above with reference to the chelator, Hsal-m- tol, obtained.

Similar synthetic procedures for the corresponding quinoline-based dinuclear complexes were observed and are further envisaged as per Scheme 3.

R Sa R 4a

r 5a R ¾

K A A

! oi

CO 4a CO 5a co

Scheme 3. Strategy for self-assembly of the dinuclear 99m TcRe complex with quinoline chelators. Reaction a) yields mononuclear complexes (4a) but with heating for 3-5 hours the dinuclear Re 2 dimer (4b) is obtained. Synthetic protocols similar to those described above in Scheme 2 for the Schiff base systems are illustrated and envisaged to obtain the dinuclear species 1a and 5a. Upon prolonged heating the trimeric complex of the general formula VII of Figure 3(c) is obtained in reasonable yield.

The self-assembly process in the presence of bidentate bridging chelators leads to the formation of a well-defined 99m Tc-Re complexes. The combination of the two elements, 99m Tc and Re in one and the same compound may open up a new avenue of study in theranostics. The dinuclear complexes that include 99m Tc can be traced so as to potentially follow their in vivo pharmacology. It is foreseen that the Schiff base framework can be of any kind or structure and that it may also include a targeting molecule or a cytotoxic agent.

Dinuclear complexes, labelled with 99m Tc can be prepared in a single step. In contrast to the classic labelling procedure with bifunctional ligands and a single 99m Tc atom, the metals self- assemble into a dinuclear cluster as the transition metal precursor complexes act as“ligands”. The compounds described in this example include variable moieties, namely Ri and R 2 in the Schiff base ligands and R 2a - R7 a in the quinoline-based ligands, which may be selected or functionalised to be bioactive or diagnostic in nature. Furthermore, the metal centres may exert therapeutic or diagnostic functions.

A dinuclear complex incorporating 99m Tc is unlikely to form in the exclusive presence of mononuclear 99m Tc complexes since its concentration is in the nanomolar range. Very small concentrations of these isotopes can be generated at a time from "Mo and second order reaction kinetics are therefore slow. The preparation of the above dinuclear complexes that include 99m Tc provides a unique approach in which homologous metal complexes are used as building blocks to prepare radiopharmaceuticals. Moreover, it may offer a convenient and uncomplicated way of obtaining pre-designed nanomaterial molecular entities, which can be varied for functionality and size.

2. Self-assembly of tetranuclear complexes

Model reactions for both of the conceptual pathways A and B of Figure 1 were carried out with mononuclear Re complexes as precursor transition metal complexes to further demonstrate the feasibility of preparing multinuclear complexes labelled with 99m Tc. a) The preparation of tetranuclear 99m Tc-Re complexes via a trinuclear precursor complex (pathway A)

The introduction of a complex fragment into an incomplete multinuclear cluster according to pathway A requires a sequential build-up of precursors into a final product. For example, a stepwise buildup of the tetranuclear complex [Re4(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] with cubane-like structure was carried out. The incomplete, anionic trinuclear complex forms stepwise from the precursor fac- [Re(OH 2 )3(CO) 3 ] + (6) via [Re 2 (p2-OH) 3 (CO)6]- (7) and [Re 3 (p 2 -OH) 3 (p 3 -OH)(CO) 9 ]- (8) under mildly basic conditions as shown in Scheme 4 below. "Tc homologues of 6, 7 and 8 were also prepared. Similar multinuclear complexes were also prepared with alcoholato or thiolato bridges.

Scheme 4. Stepwise build-up of the trinuclear cluster [Re3(p 2 -OH) 3 (p3-OH)(CO)9] · (8). The pre-assembly leaves a vertex for coordination to 99m Tc. "Re" denominates the /ac-[Re(CO)3] + fragment as indicated in 8. The metals are bridged by a single atom, potentially bound to further organic functions, coordinating or just pendent. For the fac-[Re(CO)3] + fragment, this might be an oxygen from an alcoholato group (alkoxy ligand) or a sulfur from a thiolate, i.e. from m 2 - or m 3 -0/SR motives. Oxygen, sulfur or selenium may be the coordinating atoms as they coordinate weakly as terminal donors and exhibit a tendency to bridge to further metal-centers to form multinuclear clusters with a single atom bridge. Incomplete clusters such as [Re3^2-OH)3^3-OH)(CO)g] (8) are therefore prone to coordinate to further metal centers or complex fragments and may therefore be labelled with 99m Tc.

The reaction of the incomplete, separately prepared Re3 cluster 8 with the 99m Tc precursor fac- [ 99m Tc(OH 2 )3(CO)3] + according to pre-assembly approach of pathway A in Scheme 1 leads to a cube-like cluster incorporating 99m Tc. The missing vertex of the Re3 cluster is filled with the fac- [" m Tc(CO)3] + fragment or another metal to complete the cube. Completing the cube with the fac- [Re(CO)3] + moiety yields the extremely stable cubane complex [Re4(p3-OH)4(CO)i2].

Experimental section

Preparation of tetranuclear 99m TcRe3 cluster 9 from 8 (pathway A):

The pH of an aqueous fac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + -solution (0.9 ml) with a typical concentration of 10 8 mol/dm 3 was adjusted to 5 with HCI and an acetate buffer (0.2M, 0.2ml). This-solution (0.5 ml) was transferred to a N 2 -purged microwave vial containing 8 (3.0 mg, 2.97 pmol) and heated in a microwave for 10 min at 100°C. HPLC analysis evidences 94% yield of 9. HPLC: 21.2 min.

Results

When the trinuclear complex, [Re3(p2-OH)3(p3-OH)(CO)g] _ (8), is reacted with fac- [ 99m Tc(OH 2 )3(CO)3] + , the mixed metal tetranuclear cluster [ 99m TcRe3(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] (9) formed in quantitative yields. HPLC coinjection of the homologues [ 99m TcRe3(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] (9) and [Re4(p3-OH)4(CO)i2] (10) and comparing the UV/vis and gamma-trace retention times confirmed the identity of the two compounds and these HPLC traces of 9 and 10 are shown in Figure 6.

Since the rhenium cluster 8 is present in large excess relative to the 99m Tc complex, which is typically present in the nanomolar concentration range, and further in light of the six hour half-life of 99m Tc, the majority of the product is the tetranuclear Re-complex following the labelling reaction. b) The preparation of tetranuclear 99m Tc-Re complexes by self-assembly of mononuclear precursor complexes (pathway B) A self-assembly strategy involving a one-step, one-pot reaction to form the tetranuclear 99m TcRe- complex 9 from a slightly acidic mixture of 6 and fac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + was carried out and the reaction is shown in Scheme 5 below.

Scheme 5. Self-assembly reaction between the mono-nuclear precursors 6 and its 99m Tc homologue under mildly acidic conditions yields the tetra-nuclear cubane type clusters 9 and 10. "Re" in 9 and 10 represents the fac-[Re(CO)3] + fragments (CO ligands not shown for clarity).

Experimental section

Preparation of tetranuclear 99m TcRe 3 cluster 9 from 6 (Scheme 4, pathway B):

The pH of an aqueous solution of fac-[ 99m Tc(OH2)3(CO)3] + (0.5 ml) with a typical concentration of 10 8 mol/dm 3 was adjusted to 5 as described before and transferred to a N 2 -purged microwave vial containing [NEt4]2[ReBr3(CO)3] (3.1 mg, 4.02 pmol). Stirring at 20°C for 10 min and subsequent heating at 100°C in a microwave oven for 10 min afforded 9 in 90 % yield according to HPLC analysis.

Results

The one-step reaction shown in Scheme 4 gave quantitative yields of 9 beside large amounts of 10 due to the excess of 6 used in the reaction. An HPLC trace of the crude reaction mixture without coinjection with 10 is shown in Figure 7. It shows the UV-trace of 10 and the g-trace of the tetranuclear 99m TcRe-cornplex (9).

The self-assembly strategies demonstrate how homologous precursor metal complexes of different elements, but incorporating metals of the same group in the periodic table having similar chemical and physical properties, can be used as building blocks for forming versatile multinuclear and heteronuclear complexes. Multinuclear complexes that include a medical radioisotope that is only available in small concentrations can be prepared. This approach which allows for the incorporation of a radioisotope in a multinuclear complex despite the presence of extremely small concentrations of the radioisotope and may find wide application. Its use may extend beyond the field of medical theranostics, to any other potential application where multinuclear complexes including a particular radioisotope are required, but where the radioisotope is a scarce resource or is only available in small amounts for other reasons.

In terms of their application in life sciences, multinuclear complexes may potentially deliver more than one targeting or bioactive moiety. For example, more than one therapeutic metal centre or other therapeutic moiety can be can be delivered at a specific time from the coordination periphery of the complex to the biological target, once it is bound to a corresponding biological target receptor. The difficulties of preparing a well-defined composition and the integration of a targeting/bioactive entity may be at least partially alleviated by the above described methods of preparing multinuclear complexes by self-assembly.

The multinuclear complexes that include a radioisotope or radioelement that can be detected by medical equipment may find use in theranostics. For example, if one metal in a multinuclear cluster is a g-emitter, the complex as a whole has theranostic potential. The radioisotope or radioelement provides a non-invasive method for following the biological behavior of the multinuclear complexes. Homologous precursor complexes may be selected such that the multinuclear metal complex that forms by self-assembly includes multiple targeting and/or cytotoxic agents on a single complex. This potentially increases their versatility with respect to their mode of action in biological target finding and/or drug delivery.

Conveniently, the multinuclear complexes or clusters can be prepared along self-assembly pathways, either form mononuclear precursors or by completing a pre-assembled cluster fragment, i.e. a fragment which serves as a ligand. For example, an incomplete and separately prepared M 3 (M= Mn, Re or Tc) cluster can incorporate a /ac-[" m Tc(CO) 3 ] + moiety to complete a cube. The bridging ligands of the example were hydroxides, but a person skilled in the art would appreciate that these may be replaced with thiols, functionalized alkoxides, functionalized thiolates and functionalized selenolates amongst others. A one pot reaction with the mononuclear precursors leads in one step to the product. Secondly with bidentate bridging ligands, such as Schiff bases or quinoline-based chelators, dinuclear complexes can be prepared in a single step. The bidentate bridging ligands may be further functionalised for a selected application of such multinuclear complexes. The multinuclear complexes and processes to prepare them described herein provide more versatile complexes as scaffolds for further derivatisation that may incorporate different modalities beyond that which is possible for mononuclear complexes.

Throughout the specification unless the content requires otherwise the word ‘comprise’ or variations such as‘comprises’ or‘comprising’ will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.