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Title:
8-HYDROXYQUINOLINE CYSTEINE PROTEASE INHIBITORS FOR USE IN THE PREVENTION AND/OR TREATMENT OF A CORONA VIRUS DISEASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/117724
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention generally relates to 8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors, and more specifically to 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline (nitroxoline) and derivatives thereof, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily, and in particular of a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

Inventors:
KOS JANKO (SI)
MITROVIC ANA (SI)
SOSOC IZIDOR (SI)
GOBEC STANISLAV (SI)
MARCELLO ALESSANDRO (IT)
BONOTTO RAFAELA (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2021/083960
Publication Date:
June 09, 2022
Filing Date:
December 02, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIV LJUBLJANI (SI)
INT CENTRE FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY (IT)
International Classes:
A61K31/47; A61P31/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2010034490A12010-04-01
Foreign References:
EP2353599A12011-08-10
Other References:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO GMBH (DE)
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Claims:
Claims

1. A compound having general formula (I), wherein:

R1 is -NO2; wherein A is a saturated or an unsaturated 3 to 8-membered heterocycle optionally comprising one or more further heteroatoms selected from N, O, S, and P, the heterocycle being optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5, wherein n = 0 to 5;

R3 is -H, Ci-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5, C3-C6 cycloalkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5;

R4 is -H; Ci-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5 and optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R3)2, C3-C6 cycloalkyl optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R3)2, aryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5, heteroaryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R5;

26 R5 is -H, halo, -NH2, -OH, -CN, -NO2, -COOH, -CONR4R4, -SO2NR4R4, - SO2R4, -CF3, -NHSO2R4, -NHCOR4, CI-6 branched or linear alkyl, Ci-6 alkoxy, or -SR4; wherein multiple occurrences of any of R3, R4 and R5 in the structure means that the respective residues are independently selected from the respective groups defined above; or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, hydrate or solvate thereof; for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

R4 R4 — C-N Compound for use according to claim 1, wherein R2 is -H or R4 R . Compound for use according to claim 1 or 2, wherein R2 is -H, morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4-methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4- methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein R2 is -H. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein R2 is morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4-methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4- methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl. Compound for use according to claim 1, wherein said compound is selected from the group consisting of 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-(Morpholinomethyl)-5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline, 7-(Pyrrolidinomethyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4- Methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline and 7- ((3-Hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

7. Compound for use according to claim 1, wherein said compound is 5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline.

8. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV- 229E and HCoV-OC43.

9. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus

10. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

11. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

12. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

13. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the disease is COVID- 19.

14. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein the compound is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a mammal.

15. Compound for use according to any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the compound is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a human.

16. Pharmaceutical composition, which comprises a compound having general formula (I) as defined in any one of claims 1 to 7 and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient and/or diluent, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

17. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to claim 16, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV- 229E and HCoV-OC43.

18. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to claim 16 or 17, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus

19. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 18, wherein the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

20. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 19, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

21. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 18, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

22. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 21, wherein the disease is COVID-19.

23. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 22, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a mammal.

24. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of claims 16 to 23, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a human.

29

Description:
8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a corona virus disease

Technical field of the invention

The present invention generally relates to 8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors, and more specifically to 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline (nitroxoline) and derivatives thereof, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily, and in particular of a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

Background of the invention

Peptidases are enzymes catalysing the cleavage of peptide bond in polypeptides. According to their structure and catalytic mechanism they are divided into several clans and families. Lysosomal peptidases comprise the cathepsins, which are subdivided into three subgroups according to the active site amino acid residue: aspartyl (cathepsins D and E), serine (cathepsins A and G), and cysteine cathepsins. The latter constitute the largest cathepsin family, with 11 peptidases in humans belonging to clan CA, family Cla: cathepsins B, C/DPP1, F, H, K, L, O, S, W, V, and Z/X (Rawlings et al. 2018). Cathepsins were first considered as enzymes, responsible for the non-specific bulk proteolysis in the endosomal/lysosomal compartments (Turk, Turk, and Turk 2000). Later, a broad spectrum of their more specific roles was proposed, under both physiological and pathological conditions, including a role in virus infections (Simmons et aL 2013).

The role of cysteine proteases in the viral life cycle is particularly associated with the processing of viral polyprotein involved in virus replication and in the entry of the virus to the host cells. In the first process includes predominantly viral cysteine proteases whereas the latter employs various host proteases. In non-enveloped viruses (i.e., reoviruses), the virion is converted into an infectious subvirion particle via partial proteolysis, mediated by host cathepsins B, L, or S (Baer et al. 1999; Ebert et al. 2002; Golden et al. 2002; Jane-Valbuena et al. 2002; Golden et al. 2004). In the last decade, the proteolytic digestion by host endosomal cathepsins has been described during entry of enveloped viruses, such as the Ebola virus and corona viruses (CoVs) (Chandran et al. 2005; Simmons et al. 2013). In particular, CoVs have been extensively investigated during last decay regarding the role of viral and host cysteine peptidases in viral life cycle. Among host cysteine proteases cathepsin L is most commonly associated with the activation of viral glycoproteins. It is known to process the SARS-CoV spike protein as well as many proteins of other HCoVs, including MERS-CoV and HCoV-229E (Simmons et al. 2005; Shirato, Kawase, and Matsuyama 2013; Kawase et al. 2009). The cysteine peptidase cathepsin B can also be involved in virion entry and exhibits distinct properties compared to cathepsin L and other cathepsins; it generally has a higher pH optimum and, while preferring an aromatic P2 residue, can process dibasic substrates (Choe et al. 2006; Asboth, Majer, and Polgar 1988). Cathepsin B was shown to play key roles in the lifecycle of the Ebola virus (Chandran et al. 2005), Nipah virus (Diederich, Thiel, and Maisner 2008), and feline CoV (Regan et al. 2008), catalytically activating viral membrane glycoproteins, which leads to fusion of the viral envelope with the endosomal membrane and virion release from endosomes into the cytoplasm (Nanbo et al. 2010; Gnirss et al. 2012).

For SARS-CoVs uptake to host cells, cathepsin L, rather than other cathepsins, is involved in receptor mediated endocytosis, in which the interaction with ACE2 is required (Simmons et al. 2005; Huang et al. 2006). Based on these observations, a three-step process of SARS-CoVs infection has been proposed: receptor binding, induced conformational changes in spike protein, and cathepsin L proteolysis within the endosomes (Simmons et al. 2005). However, for SARS-CoV-2 the spike protein was suggested to be processed by serine peptidase transmembrane peptidase/serine subfamily member 2 (TMPRSS2) resulting in membrane fusion and direct release of viral genetic material to the host cell. Nevertheless, recent studies show that serine peptidase inhibitors only partially blocked viral uptake and that both pathways should be involved in SARS-CoV-2 viral infection (Hoffmann et al. 2020).

Summary of the invention

The objective of the present invention is thus to provide compounds which are effective in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily, and in particular of a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. This objective has been met by the present inventors who have surprisingly found that 8- hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors of general formula (I) exhibit superior efficacy in the prevention and/or treatment of an infection caused by a corona virus, such as SARS-CoV-2. Particularly, the present inventors have shown that the highest activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the engineered Huh 7 cells expressing a human ACE2 (Huh7-hACE2 cells) was obtained by Nitroxoline: (5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline) and Compound 17: (2-{[(8-hydroxy-5-nitroquinoline-7- yl)methyl]amino}-acetonitrile), which have been previously identified as potent reversible cathepsin B inhibitors. The effect was significantly stronger compared to general cysteine peptidase inhibitor E64 as well as the effect of cathepsin L inhibitor CLIK 148. Another 8- hydroxyquinoline derivative Compound 3: (7-[(4-methylpiperidin-lyl)methyl]-5-nitroquinolin-8- ol), previously identified as an inhibitor of cathepsins B, H, and L, exhibited stronger effect than CLIK 148, but weaker than Nitroxoline and Compound 17. From these results it is evident that cathepsin B inhibitors, in particular 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives inactivate host and/or viral proteases, involved in SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and viral replication. Contrary to some previous reports, it is surprising that cathepsin B and cathepsin B-like proteases are crucial for SARS-CoV- 2 infection and replication. Nitroxoline, used in clinical practice for treatment of urinary tract infections, expresses its antibiotics activity as a metal ion chelator. Synergistic activity of cathepsin B inhibition and metal ion chelation could result in strong potential of Nitroxoline and other 8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2.

The present invention thus provides in a first aspect a compound having general formula (I) as detailed herein for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

The present invention provides in further aspect a pharmaceutical composition, which comprises a compound having general formula (I) as detailed herein and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient and/or diluent, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

The present invention provides in further aspect a use of a compound having general formula (I) as detailed herein in the manufacture of a medicament for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily. The invention provides in a further aspect a method of preventing and/or treating a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily in a subject in need.

The present invention may be summarized further by the following items.

1. A compound having general formula (I), wherein:

R 1 is -H, -NO 2 or C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more

R 3 — 1 3 substituents independently selected from the group of R 5 , -NO 2 , -NH 2 , R , wherein A is a saturated or an unsaturated 3 to 8-membered heterocycle optionally comprising one or more further heteroatoms selected from N, O, S, and P, the heterocycle being optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , wherein n = 0 to 5; R 3 is -H, C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , C 3 -C 6 cycloalkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 ;

R 4 is -H; C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 and optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R 3 ) 2 , C 3 -C 6 cycloalkyl optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R 3 ) 2 , aryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , heteroaryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 ;

R 5 is -H, halo, -NH 2 , -OH, -CN, -NO 2 , -COOH, -CONR 4 R 4 , -SO 2 NR 4 R 4 , - SO 2 R 4 , -CF 3 , -NHSO 2 R 4 , -NHCOR 4 , CI-6 branched or linear alkyl, Ci- 6 alkoxy, or -SR 4 ; wherein multiple occurrences of any of R 3 , R 4 and R 5 in the structure means that the respective residues are independently selected from the respective groups defined above; or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, hydrate or solvate thereof; for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

2. Compound for use according to item 1, wherein R 1 is -NO 2 .

3. Compound for use according to item 1, wherein R 1 is Ci- 6 branched or linear alkyl.

R 4 R 4 — C-N

4. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 3, wherein R 2 is -H or R 4 ^ 4 .

5. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 4, wherein R 2 is -H, morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4-methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4- hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl.

6. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 5, wherein R 2 is -H.

7. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 5, wherein R 2 is morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4-methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4- methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl. 8. Compound for use according to item 1, wherein said compound is selected from the group consisting of 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-(Morpholinomethyl)-5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline, 7-(Pyrrolidinomethyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4- Methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoli ne and 7- ((3-Hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline .

9. Compound for use according to item 1, wherein said compound is 5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline.

10. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 9, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV- 229E and HCoV-OC43.

11. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 10, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus

12. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 11, wherein the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

13. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 12, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

14. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 10, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

15. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 14, wherein the disease is COVID- 19.

16. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 15, wherein the compound is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a mammal.

17. Compound for use according to any one of items 1 to 16, wherein the compound is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a human. 18. Pharmaceutical composition, which comprises a compound having general formula (I) as defined in any one of items 1 to 9 and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient and/or diluent, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

19. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to item 18, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV- 229E and HCoV-OC43.

20. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to item 18 or 19, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus

21. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 20, wherein the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

22. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 21, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

23. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 20, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

24. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 23, wherein the disease is COVID-19.

25. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 24, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a mammal.

26. Pharmaceutical composition for use according to any one of items 18 to 25, wherein the pharmaceutical composition is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a human. 27. Use of a compound having general formula (I) as defined in any one of items 1 to 9 in the manufacture of a medicament for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

28. Use according to item 27, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43.

29. Use according to item 27 or 28, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus

30. Use according to any one of items 27 to 29, wherein the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

31. Use according to any one of items 27 to 30, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

32. Use according to any one of items 27 to 29, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

33. Use according to any one of items 27 to 32, wherein the disease is COVID-19.

34. Use according to any one of items 27 to 33, wherein the medicament is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a mammal.

35. Use according to any one of items 27 to 34, wherein the medicament is for use in the prevention and/or treatment of said disease in a human.

36. Method of preventing and/or treating a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily in a subject in need, comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a compound having general formula (I) as defined in any one of items 1 to 9 or of a pharmaceutical composition as defined in item 18 to a subject in need.

37. Method according to item 36, wherein the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43. 38. Method according to item 36 or 37, wherein the disease is caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus.

39. Method according to any one of items 36 to 38, wherein the disease is caused by SARS- CoV-2.

40. Method according to any one of items 36 to 39, wherein the disease is a respiratory tract infection.

41. Method according to any one of items 36 to 37, wherein the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43.

42. Method according to any one of items 36 to 41, wherein the disease is COVID-19.

43. Method according to any one of items 36 to 42, wherein the subject is a mammal.

44. Method according to any one of items 36 to 43, wherein the subject is a human.

Brief description of the figures

Figure 1: Antiviral efficacy of compounds against SARS-CoV-2 was tested at pre-treated (left panels) and post-treated (right panels) conditions. The antiviral activity of compounds was evaluated by High Content Assay infecting Huh7-hACE2 cells in presence of increasing concentration of compounds. Percent of nuclei were quantified in parallel in the same assay to assess the compound cytotoxicity (Milani et al.,2020). The percentage infectivity inhibition (black dots) were normalized with the average number of infection ratio of infected wells, containing 1% DMSO and noninfected wells containing 1% DMSO. Percentage of nuclei (blue squares) were calculated by comparing the average number of nuclei of non-infected wells at the presence of 1% DMSO. Error bars represent the standard deviation (SD) of 2 independent experiments. For each panel EC 5 o and CC 5 o were calculated based on non -linear regression analysis and curve fitting parameters to provide relative values for inhibition of viral infection and cytotoxicity, respectively.

The present invention is now described in more detail below. Detailed description of the invention

As noted above, the present inventors have surprisingly found that 8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors of general formula (I) exhibit superior efficacy in the prevention and/or treatment of an infection caused by a corona virus, such as SARS-CoV-2. Particularly, the present inventors have shown that the highest activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the Huh7-hACE2 cells line was obtained by Nitroxoline: (5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline) and Compound 17: (2-{[(8-hydroxy-5- nitroquinoline-7-yl)methyl]amino}-acetonitrile), which have been previously identified as potent reversible cathepsin B inhibitors. The effect was significantly stronger compared to general cysteine peptidase inhibitor E64 as well as the effect of cathepsin L inhibitor CLIK 148. Another 8-hydroxyquinoline derivative Compound 3: (7-[(4-methylpiperidin-lyl)methyl]-5-nitroquinolin- 8-ol), previously identified as an inhibitor of cathepsins B, H, and L, exhibited stronger effect than CLIK 148, but weaker than Nitroxoline and Compound 17. From these results it is evident that cathepsin B inhibitors, in particular 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives are able to inactivate host and/or viral proteases, involved in SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and viral replication. Contrary to some previous reports, it is surprising that cathepsin B and cathepsin B-like proteases are crucial for SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication and that peptidase-directed antiviral therapy should include various types of inhibitors, in particular cathepsin B inhibitors.

Nitroxoline, used in clinical practice for treatment of urinary tract infections, expresses its antibiotics activity as a metal ion chelator. Synergistic activity of cathepsin B inhibition and metal ion chelation could result in strong potential of Nitroxoline and other 8-hydroxyquinoline cysteine protease inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2. The other advantage of Nitroxoline and other 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives in accordance of the invention is that they are reversible inhibitors in contrast to the other peptidase inhibitors, tested for antiviral effect for corona viruses. Reversible inhibition can provide better pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties over irreversible one and result in lower off-target effects.

Thus, the present invention provides in a first aspect a compound having general formula (I) wherein:

R 1 is -H, -N0 2 or C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more

3 substituents independently selected from the group of R 5 , -NO 2 , -NH 2 , R , wherein A is a saturated or an unsaturated 3 to 8-membered heterocycle optionally comprising one or more further heteroatoms selected from N, O, S, and P, the heterocycle being optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , wherein n = 0 to 5;

R 3 is -H, C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , C 3 -C 6 cycloalkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 ;

R 4 is -H; C1-6 branched or linear alkyl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 and optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R 3 ) 2 , C 3 -C 6 cycloalkyl optionally comprising one or more heteroatoms selected from N, S, O, P and optionally substituted with -N(R 3 ) 2 , aryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 , heteroaryl optionally substituted with one or more substituents independently selected from R 5 ; R 5 is -H, halo, -NH 2 , -OH, -CN, -NO 2 , -COOH, -CONR 4 R 4 , -SO 2 NR 4 R 4 , - SO 2 R 4 , -CF 3 , -NHSO 2 R 4 , -NHCOR 4 , CI-6 branched or linear alkyl, Ci- 6 alkoxy or -SR 4 ; wherein multiple occurrences of any of R 3 , R 4 and R 5 in the structure means that the respective residues are independently selected from the respective groups defined above; or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt, hydrate or solvate thereof; for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

According to some embodiments, R 1 is -NO 2 .

According to some embodiments, R 1 is Ci_ 6 branched or linear alkyl.

R 4 R 4

— C-N

According to some embodiments, R 2 is -H or R 4 .

According to some embodiments, R 2 is -H, morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4- methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl.

According to some embodiments, R 2 is -H.

According to some embodiments, R 2 is morpholinomethyl, pyrrolidinomethyl, (4- methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl, (4-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, (4-carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl, or (3-hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is selected from the group consisting of 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-(Morpholinomethyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7- (Pyrrolidinomethyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Methylpiperazin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8- hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoli ne, 7-((4- Methypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline, 7-((4-Carboxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5- nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline and 7-((3-Hydroxypiperidin-l-yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoli ne.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline. According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-(Morpholinomethyl)-5-nitro- 8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-(Pyrrolidinomethyl)-5-nitro- 8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-((4-Methylpiperazin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-((4-Hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-((4-Methypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-((4-Carboxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

According to some embodiments, the compound of formula (I) is 7-((3-Hydroxypiperidin-l- yl)methyl)-5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline.

"Alkyl", as used herein, shall be understood to relate to a branched or linear alkyl group with 1 to 20, preferably 1 to 10, most preferred 1 to 5 or 1 to 3 carbon atoms. Linear alkyl groups are preferred.

A "heterocycle", as used herein, shall be understood to relate to cyclic moieties comprising 2 to 7 carbon atoms in addition to at least one heteroatom in the cycle. Preferred heterocycles comprise 2 to 5, or 2 to 4 carbon atoms. Preferred heteroatoms are N, S, O, P. Preferred heterocycles of the invention comprise a single heteroatom.

"Branched alkyl", as used herein, shall be understood to relate to a branched alkyl group with 1 to 20, preferably 1 to 10, most preferred 1 to 5 or 1 to 3 carbon atoms.

"Aryl", as used herein, shall be understood to relate to any functional group or substituent derived from a simple aromatic ring, may it be phenyl, thiophene, indolyl, etc (according to IUPAC nomenclature). Preferred aryl groups are phenyl, C 6 H 5 ; tolyl, CH 3 C 6 H4; or xylyl, (CH 3 )2C 6 H 3 . Preferred aryl groups of the invention comprise 3 to 6 membered carbon cycles, most preferred 6 membered carbon cycles. Aryl groups of the invention may comprise a single aromatic cycle, but may also comprise two, or three, or more conjugated aromatic cycles. A single aromatic cycle is preferred.

"Heteroaryl" shall be understood to relate to aryl comprising a heteroatom in at least one of the aromatic cycles.

Methods for the preparation of compounds of formula (I) have been described in the patent and scientific literature, such as in WO 2010/034490, (Voronin et al. 1976; Mirkovic et al. 2011; Sosic et al. 2013; Mitrovic et al. 2017; Sosic et al. 2018) the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

The present invention includes all hydrates, solvates, complexes, polymorphs and prodrugs of the compounds of formula (I). Prodrugs are any covalently bonded compounds which release the active parent drug according to formula (I) in vivo.

All forms of isomers resulting from the presence of a chiral center in the inventive compounds, including enantiomers and diastereomers, are intended to be covered herein. The inventive compounds may be used as a racemic mixture, an enantiomerically enriched mixture, or the racemic mixture may be separated using well-known techniques and an individual enantiomer may be used alone.

In the event that a compound of formula (I) may exist in tautomeric forms, each tautomeric form is considered as being included within this invention whether existing in equilibrium or predominantly in one form.

The present invention provides a pharmaceutical composition which comprises a compound of formula (I) and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, excipient and/or diluent. Furthermore, the compound of formula (I) can also be used in the preparation of a medicament.

Suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, excipients and diluents are well-known to the skilled person, and have been described in the literature, such as in Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Additives or the Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients. Non-limiting examples of suitable pharmaceutically acceptable excipients include diluents, fillers, binding agents, disintegrating agents, lubricants, fluidizers, granulating agents, coating materials, wetting agents, solvents, co-solvents, suspending agents, emulsifying agents, sweeting agents, flavoring agents, odor masking agents, coloring agents, anti-caking agents, chelating agents, plasticisers, viscosifiers, antioxidants, antiseptics, stabilizing agents, surfactants and buffer agents.

Pharmaceutical preparations containing a compound of formula (I) may be formulated as solutions or lyophilized powders for parenteral administration. In the latter case, powders may be reconstituted by addition of a suitable diluent or other pharmaceutically acceptable carrier prior to use. The liquid preparation may be buffered, isotonic, aqueous solution. Examples of suitable diluents are normal isotonic saline, standard 5 % dextrose in water, or buffered sodium or ammonium acetate solution. Such formulation is especially suitable for parenteral administration, but may be also used for oral administration or contained in a metered dose inhaler or nebulizer for insufflation. It may be desirable to add excipients such as polyvinylpyrrolidone, gelatin, hydroxy cellulose, acacia, polyethylene glycol, mannitol, sodium chloride, or sodium citrate.

Alternatively, a compound of formula (I) may be encapsulated, tableted, or prepared in an emulsion or syrup for oral administration. Pharmaceutically acceptable solid or liquid carriers may be added to enhance or stabilize the composition, or to facilitate preparation of the composition. Solid carriers include starch, lactose, calcium sulfate dihydrate, terra alba, magnesium stearate or stearic acid, talc, pectin, acacia, agar or gelatin. Liquid carriers include syrup, peanut oil, olive oil, saline and water. The carrier may also include a sustained release material such as glyceryl monostearate or glyceryl distearate, alone or with a wax. The amount of solid carrier may vary, but will preferably be between about 20 mg to about 1 g per dosage unit. The pharmaceutical preparations are made following the conventional pharmaceutical techniques, such as milling, mixing, granulating, and compressing when necessary for tablet forms; or milling, mixing and filling for hard gelatin capsule forms. When a liquid carrier is used, the preparation will be in the form of syrup, elixir, emulsion or an aqueous or a non-aqueous suspension. Such a liquid formulation may be administered directly or filled in a soft gelatin capsule or formulated as an aerosol. For rectal administration, the compound of this invention may also be combined with excipients, such as cocoa butter, glycerin, gelatin or polyethylene glycols and moulded into a suppository.

The present invention further provides a method of preventing and/or treating a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily in a subject in need, comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a compound of formula (I) as defined herein or of a pharmaceutical composition as defined herein to a subject in need.

In accordance with this invention, an effective amount of a compound of formula (I) is administered to inhibit the cysteine peptidase cathepsin B. The dosage amount can be further modified according to the type of administration of the compound. For example, for acute therapy, parenteral administration of the compound of formula (I) is preferred. An intravenous infusion of the compound in 5 % dextrose in water or normal saline, or similar formulation with suitable excipients is most effective, although an intramuscular bolus injection is also useful. Typically, the parenteral dose will be about 0.01 to about 100 mg/kg, in a manner to maintain the concentration of drug in the plasma at a concentration effective to inhibit cathepsin B. The compound is administered one to four times daily at a level to achieve a total daily dose of about 0.4 to about 400 mg/kg/day. The precise amount of the inventive compound which is therapeutically effective, and the route by which such compound is best administered, is readily determined by one of the ordinary skill in the art by comparing blood levels of the agent to the concentration required to have a therapeutic effect.

Prodrugs of the compound of formula (I) may be prepared by any suitable method. Where the prodrug moiety is a ketone functionality, specifically ketals and/or hemiacetals, the conversion may be effected in accordance with conventional methods.

The compounds of formula (I) may be administered orally to the patient, in a manner such that the concentration of the drug is sufficient to achieve any therapeutic indication as disclosed herein. Typically, a pharmaceutical composition containing the compound is administered at an oral dose of between about 0.1 to about 50 mg/kg in a manner consistent with the condition of the patient. As noted above, the compound of formula (I), the pharmaceutical composition, the medicament and the method of the presented invention are for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a disease caused by a virus of the coronavirus subfamily.

According to some embodiments, the disease is caused by human corona virus.

According to some embodiments, the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43.

According to some embodiments, the disease is caused by a corona virus selected from severe acute respiratory syndrome related coronavirus.

According to some embodiments, the disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

According to some embodiments, the disease is respiratory tract infection.

According to some embodiments, the disease is SARS or MERS or a disease caused by HCoV- NL63, HCoV-HKUl, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43.

According to some embodiments, the disease is SARS.

According to some embodiments, the disease is COVID-19.

According to some embodiments, the subject in need of prevention and/or treatment is a mammal.

According to some embodiments, the subject in need of prevention and/or treatment is a human.

Having generally described this invention, a further understanding can be obtained by reference to certain specific examples, which are provided herein for purposes of illustration only, and are not intended to be limiting unless otherwise specified. Examples

Selected inhibitors and controls:

1. Nitroxoline: (5-nitro-8-hydroxyquinoline). Specific reversible inhibitor of cathepsin B

2. Compound 17: 2-{[(8-hydroxy-5-nitroquinoline-7-yl)methyl]amino}-acetonitr ile. Specific reversible inhibitor of cathepsin B

3. Compound 3: 7-[(4-methylpiperidin-lyl)methyl]-5-nitroquinolin-8-ol. Reversible inhibitor of cathepsins B, H, and L

4. E64 ([L-trans-epoxysuccinyl-L-leucylamido(4-guanidino)butanel). General irreversible inhibitor of cysteine peptidases.

5. E64d (2S,3S)-trans-Epoxysuccinyl-L-leucylamido-3-methylbutane ethyl ester, (Aloxistatin). Cell-permeable and irreversible broad-spectrum cysteine protease inhibitor.

6. CLIK 148 /V-{L-3-trans-[2-(pyridin-2-yl)ethylcarbamoyl]-oxirane-2-car bonyl}-L-Phe dimethylamide; irreversible inhibitor of cathepsin L

7. Positive control: Infected cells treated with 50 pM 7-hydroxychloroquine

8. Negative control: Infected cells, containing final concentration of DMSO (1%)

Methods

Cells and virus: Huh 7 cells (Hepatoma cell line) expressing the human ACE2 receptor was cultivated in DMEM (Gibco) supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (Gibco). SARS-CoV-2 isolate ICGEB_FVG_S5 (Licastro et al. 2020) was grown and quantified on Vero E6 cells.

Dose response assay: Compounds were prepared in 2-fold serial dilutions (8 points dilutions) in DMSO, and then diluted 16x in PBS IX in an intermediate plate. Finally, compounds were transferred to the 96 well assay plate containing cells and virus suspension (6x in growth medium, final dilution lOOx).

High Content Assay: Huh 7- ACE2 cells were seeded in a 96 wells plate, at 8xl0 3 cells/well density and incubated at 37 °C overnight. Compounds were tested in two conditions; (a) pretreated, 3 hours prior infection compounds were transferred to the plate; (b) post treated, compounds were transferred to the plate immediately after infection. In all conditions, cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 at 0.1 MOI. Controls included: infected cells treated with 50 pM of Hydroxychloroquine as well as non-infected cells treated with vehicle (1 % DMSO). Negative controls were infected cells treated with vehicle. Plates were incubated for 20 h at 37°C, and then fixed with 4% PFA for 15 min at room temperature and washed twice with PBS lx. Cells were treated with 0,1% of Triton-X for 15 min, followed incubation for 30 min in blocking buffer (PBS containing 1% of bovine serum albumin - BSA). Then, a primary recombinant monoclonal Spike antibody (CR3022) was diluted in blocking buffer and incubated for 2 h at 37°C (Rajasekharan et al. 2020). Cells were washed 2 times in PBS IX and incubated with the secondary antibody (anti-mouse Alexa 488) plus DAPI for 1 h at 37°C. Each plate was washed twice with PBS lx. All plates were filled up with 150 pl of PBS/well. Digital images were acquired using a high content imaging system, the Operetta (Perkin Elmer). The digital images were taken from 9 different fields of each well at 20x magnification. Total number of cells and the number of infected cells were analysis using Columbus Image Data Storage and Analysis System (Perkin Elmer).

Data normalization and analysis: Infection ratio was defined as a ratio between (i) the total number of infected cells, and (ii) the total number of cells. Data were normalized with the negative (DMSO-treated, infected cells) and positive (infected cells treated with 50 pM Hydroxychloroquine) controls. Percentage inhibition was calculated based on infection ratio values with the formula: (l-( infection ratio samples - Avarage (Av) infection ratio of positive control) /(Av. infection ratio of negative control - Av. infection ratio of positive control)) xlOO. Percentage of nuclei was calculated from values of cell number with the formula: Cell number test sample/Avg. cell number of positive control) x 100. Values were plotted against dilutions expressed as antilog. The half maximal effective concentration (EC 5 o) and the half maximum cytotoxic concentration (CC 5 o) were calculated using GraphPad Prism Version 7.

Results:

Results of the impact of cysteine peptidase inhibitors on SARS-CoV-2 viral activity and on cell viability are presented in Figure 1. Antiviral activity is presented as % of inhibition, based on infection ratio values. The half maximal effective concentration (EC 5 o) is a relative measure of the effectiveness of the inhibitor. 50 pM 7- hydroxychloroquine as a positive control represents 100% inhibition.

Percentage of nuclei represents the impact of cysteine peptidase inhibitors on cell viability. Half maximum cytotoxic concentration (CC 5 o) is a relative measure of the cytotoxicity of the inhibitor. It is evident that none of the inhibitors exhibited a significant cytotoxicity within the tested concentration range - CC 5 o< 100 pM.

Tests were performed at pre-treated conditions (compounds were transferred to the assay plate 3 hours prior infection) and post-treated conditions (compounds were transferred to the plate immediately after infection). In all cases except for compound 3 the effect (ECso) was stronger at pre-treated conditions, suggesting the importance of cysteine peptidases for viral entry.

Nitroxoline and compound 17, both inhibitors of cathepsin B, reached 100% inhibition and exhibit a strong anti viral effect with EC 5 o 1.9 pM at pre-treated conditions. The EC 90 , the effective concentration capable to inhibit 90% of infection, showed values < 10 pM, with 7.9 pM and 3.3 pM for Nitroxoline and Compound 17 respectively. They are followed by compound 3 with EC 5 o4.9 pM, which also reached 100% inhibition with EC 90 of 10 pM.

E64d, a general irreversible cell permeable inhibitor of cysteine proteases exhibited EC 5 oO.7 pM, but it did not reach 100% inhibition. E64d has been shown previously to reduce viral entry in MERS CoV (Pislar et al. 2020).

Other two inhibitors tested, E64 and CLIK 148, exhibited ECsoat higher concentrations and they did not reach 100% inhibition.

Conclusions

The results show that specific cathepsin B inhibitors, based on 8-hydroxyquinoline structure, such as nitroxoline and compound 17, effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus entry to host cells and its replication. The effect of compound 3, also possessing 8-hydroxyquinoline structure, but inhibiting besides cathepsin B also cathepsins H and L is also strong, but lower from that of nitroxoline and compound 17. Specific cathepsin L inhibitor CLIK 148 was less effective and did not reach 100% inhibition. The same holds for general inhibitors of cysteine proteases E64 and E64d. Taken together, 8-hydroxyquinoline based specific reversible inhibitors of cathepsin B are potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 virus entry and replication and have a potential for treatment of Covid-19 and other corona virus related diseases.

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