Combination therapy drugs are considered a fundamental way to control malaria as it mimimizes the risk of emergence of resistance to the individual partner drugs. Consequently, this type of therapy constitutes a driving force for the discovery of new drugs with different modes of action, since this will provide options for combining different drugs to achieve the optimum antimalarial treatment. In this context, a 2,3,8-trisubstitued quinoline compound was found in a high throughput screen (HTS) to show an excellent inhibition of P. falciparum NF54 (IC50 = 22 nM) and low cytotoxicity. We performed a detailed evaluation of the substituents to improve the metabolic stability and solubility liabilities of the original hit and identified derivatives with enhanced physicochemical and/or PK properties and that maintained biological activity. However the high potency was not retained on testing against drug resistant plasmodium strains.
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