A decade of drug metabolite safety testing: industry and regulatory shared learning.
A previous report from our laboratory disclosed the identification of PF-04991532 [(S)-6-(3-cyclopentyl-2-(4-trifluoromethyl)-1H-imidazol-1-yl)propanamido)nicotinic acid] as a hepatoselective glucokinase activator for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lack of in vitro metabolic turnover in microsomes and hepatocytes from preclinical species and humans suggested that metabolism would be inconsequential as a clearance mechanism of PF-04991532 in vivo. Qualitative examination of human circulating metabolites using plasma samples from a 14-day multiple ascending dose clinical study, however, revealed a glucuronide (M1) and monohydroxylation products (M2a and M2b/M2c) whose abundances (based on UV integration) were greater than 10% of the total drug-related material. Based on this preliminary observation, mass balance/excretion studies were triggered in animals, which revealed that the majority of circulating radioactivity following the oral administration of [¹⁴C]PF-04991532 was attributed to an unchanged parent (>70% in rats and dogs). In contrast with the human circulatory metabolite profile, the monohydroxylated metabolites were not detected in circulation in either rats or dogs. Available mass spectral evidence suggested that M2a and M2b/M2c were diastereomers derived from cyclopentyl ring oxidation in PF-04991532. Because cyclopentyl ring hydroxylation on the C-2 and C-3 positions can generate eight possible diastereomers, it was possible that additional diastereomers may have also formed and would need to be resolved from the M2a and M2b/M2c peaks observed in the current chromatography conditions. In conclusion, the human metabolite scouting study in tandem with the animal mass balance study allowed early identification of PF-04991532 oxidative metabolites, which were not predicted by in vitro methods and may require additional scrutiny in the development phase of PF-04991532.