PTG-0861: A novel HDAC6-selective inhibitor as a therapeutic strategy in acute myeloid leukaemia

Justyna M. Gawel, Andrew E. Shouksmith, Yasir S. Raouf, Nabanita Nawar, Krimo Toutah, Shazreh Bukhari, Pimyupa Manaswiyoungkul, Olasunkanmi O. Olaoye, Johan Israelian, Tudor B. Radu, Aaron D. Cabral, Diana Sina, Abootaleb Sedighi, Elvin D. de Araujo, Patrick T. Gunning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Dysregulated Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) activity across multiple human pathologies have highlighted this family of epigenetic enzymes as critical druggable targets, amenable to small molecule intervention. While efficacious, current approaches using non-selective HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) have been shown to cause a range of undesirable clinical toxicities. To circumvent this, recent efforts have focused on the design of highly selective HDACi as a novel therapeutic strategy. Beyond roles in regulating transcription, the unique HDAC6 (with two catalytic domains) regulates the deacetylation of α-tubulin; promoting growth factor-controlled cell motility, cell division, and metastatic hallmarks. Recent studies have linked aberrant HDAC6 function in various hematological cancers including acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma. Herein, we report the discovery, in vitro characterization, and biological evaluation of PTG-0861 (JG-265), a novel HDAC6-selective inhibitor with strong isozyme-selectivity (∼36× ) and low nanomolar potency (IC50 = 5.92 nM) against HDAC6. This selectivity profile was rationalized via in silico docking studies and also observed in cellulo through cellular target engagement. Moreover, PTG-0861 achieved relevant potency against several blood cancer cell lines (e.g. MV4-11, MM1S), whilst showing limited cytotoxicity against non-malignant cells (e.g. NHF, HUVEC) and CD-1 mice. In examining compound stability and cellular permeability, PTG-0861 revealed a promising in vitro pharmacokinetic (PK) profile. Altogether, in this study we identified a novel and potent HDAC6-selective inhibitor (∼4× more selective than current clinical standards – citarinostat, ricolinostat), which achieves cellular target engagement, efficacy in hematological cancer cells with a promising safety profile and in vitro PK.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112411
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6)
  • Isoform selectivity
  • SAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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