Discovery of a Selective, State-Independent Inhibitor of NaV1.7 by Modification of Guanidinium Toxins
The voltage-gated sodium channel isoform NaV1.7 is highly expressed in small diameter dorsal root ganglion neurons and is obligatory for nociceptive signal transmission. Genetic gain-of-function and loss-of-function NaV1.7 mutations have been identified in select individuals, and are associated with episodic extreme pain disorders and insensitivity to pain, respectively. These findings implicate NaV1.7 as a key pharmacotherapeutic target for the treatment of pain. While several small molecules
... al small molecules targeting NaV1.7 have been advanced to clinical development, no NaV1.7-selective compound has shown convincing efficacy in clinical pain applications. Here we describe the discovery and characterization of ST-2262, a NaV1.7 inhibitor that blocks the extracellular vestibule of the channel with an IC50 of 72 nM and greater than 200-fold selectivity over off-target sodium channel isoforms, NaV1.1-1.6 and NaV1.8. In contrast to other NaV1.7 inhibitors that preferentially inhibit the inactivated state of the channel, ST-2262 is equipotent against resting and inactivated protein conformers. In a non-human primate model, animals treated with ST-2262 exhibit markedly reduced sensitivity to noxious heat. These findings establish the extracellular vestibule of the sodium channel as a viable receptor site for selective ligand design and provide insight into the pharmacology of state-independent inhibition of NaV1.7.