Peroxisome-proliferator activated receptors (PPAR) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily which regulate gene transcription. PPARα is a key regulator of lipid homeostasis and a negative regulator of inflammation. Under conditions of metabolic stress such as fasting or glucose deprivation, PPARα is upregulated in order to control gene expression necessary for processing alternate fuel sources (e.g. fatty acid oxidation) and thereby promote maintenance of cell viability. Clinically, PPARα expression is upregulated in diseased tissues such as melanoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, ovarian and prostate cancer. This may allow for cellular proliferation and metastasis. Importantly, genetic knockouts of PPARα have been shown to be protected against tumor growth in a variety of syngeneic tumors models. We hypothesized that a potent and selective PPARα antagonist could represent a novel cancer therapy. Early in our discovery research, we identified NXT629 (Bravo et al., 2014). Herein we describe the pharmacology of NXT629 and demonstrate that it is a potent and selective PPARα antagonist. We identify NXT629 as a valuable tool for use in in vivo assessment of PPARα due to its good systemic exposure following intraperitoneal injection. We explore the in vivo pharmacology of NXT629 and demonstrate that it is efficacious in pharmacodynamic models that are driven by PPARα. Finally, we probe the efficacy of NXT629 in disease models where PPARα knockouts have shown to be protected. We believe that PPARα antagonists will be beneficial in diseases such as ovarian cancer and melanoma where PPARα and fatty acid oxidation may be involved.

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Date of publication: 5 May 2017 (Online); European Journal of Pharmacology

Author information: Karin J. Stebbins (1); Alex R. Broadhead (1); Geraldine Cabrera (1); Lucia D. Correa (1); Davorka Messmer (1); Richard Bundey (1); Christopher Baccei (1); Yaldo Bravo (1); Austin Chen (1); Nicholas S. Stock (1); Peppi Prasit (1); & Daniel S. Lorrain (1)

(1) Inception Sciences, 5871 Oberlin Drive, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121