Copper-CX-5461: A novel liposomal formulation for a small molecule rRNA synthesis inhibitor

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CX-5461 is currently in Phase I/II clinical trials for advanced hematologic malignancies and triple negative or BRCA-deficient breast cancer. The compound is currently administered to patients intravenously (i.v.) at low pH (3.5) due to solubility challenges. Reliance of low pH to enhance solubility of CX-5461 can adversely impact pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and therapeutic potential. We have addressed this solubility issue through a formulation method that relies on the interactions between CX-5461 and copper. Copper binds CX-5461 through the nitrogens of the pyrazine ring. Here, we describe synthesizing this copper-complexed CX-5461 (Cu(CX-5461)) within liposomes. CX-5461 was added to copper-containing liposomes and incubated at 60 °C for 30 min. The pharmacokinetics of CX-5461 was assessed in mice following a single i.v. injection at 30 mg/kg. Efficacy studies were completed in multiple subcutaneous mouse xenografts as well as in a bone marrow engraftment model of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The novel Cu(CX-5461) formulation was stable at pH 7.4 and exhibited increased plasma circulation longevity, increasing the total exposure to CX5461 by an order of magnitude. Cu(CX-5461) was more active than CX-5461 in AML models in vivo. In HCT116-B46 and Capan-1 solid tumour models that are BRCA-deficient, the Cu(CX-5461) formulation engendered activity that was comparable to that of the low pH CX-5461 formulation. We have generated the first Cu(CX-5461) formulation suitable for i.v. administration that is more efficacious than the existing low-pH formulation in pre-clinical models of AML. The Cu(CX-5461) formulation may serve as an alternative formulation for CX-5461 in BRCA-deficient cancers.Graphical abstractHighlightsThe phase I/II targeted agent CX-5461 is poorly soluble at physiological pH.Metal-binding property of CX-5461 can be exploited for formulation strategies.The first Cu(CX-5461) nanoformulation extends CX-5461 circulation lifetime.Cu(CX-5461) is equally or more efficacious than the low pH CX-5461 formulation.

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