Using a Non-Image-Based Medium-Throughput Assay for Screening Compounds Targeting N-myristoylation in Intracellular Leishmania Amastigotes
N-Myristoyltransferase (NMT) represents a promising drug target for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), which is caused by the parasitic protozoa Trypanosoma brucei. We report the optimization of a high throughput screening hit (1) to give a lead molecule DDD85646 (63), which has potent activity against the enzyme (IC(50) = 2 nM) and T. brucei (EC(50) = 2 nM) in culture. The compound has good oral pharmacokinetics and cures rodent models of peripheral HAT infection. This compound provides an excellent tool for validation of T. brucei NMT as a drug target for HAT as well as a valuable lead for further optimization.