Small molecule metalloprotease inhibitor within vitro, ex vivoandin vivoefficacy against botulinum neurotoxin serotype A
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most toxic substances known to mankind and are the causative agents of the neuroparalytic disease botulism. Their ease of production and extreme toxicity have caused these neurotoxins to be classified as Tier 1 bioterrorist threat agents and have led to a sustained effort to develop countermeasures to treat intoxication in case of a bioterrorist attack. While timely administration of an approved antitoxin is effective in reducing the severity of botulism, reversing intoxication requires different strategies. In the present study, we evaluated ABS 252 and other mercaptoacetamide small molecule active-site inhibitors of BoNT/A light chain using an integrated multi-assay approach. ABS 252 showed inhibitory activity in enzymatic, cell-based and muscle activity assays, and importantly, produced a marked delay in time-to-death in mice. The results suggest that a multi-assay approach is an effective strategy for discovery of potential BoNT therapeutic candidates.