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5-(Ethylsulfonyl)-2-(naphthalen-2-yl)benzo[d]oxazole (ezutromid, 1) is a first-in-class utrophin modulator that has been evaluated in a phase 2 clinical study for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Ezutromid was found to undergo hepatic oxidation of its 2-naphthyl substituent to produce two regioisomeric 1,2-dihydronaphthalene-1,2-diols, DHD1 and DHD3, as the major metabolites after oral administration in humans and rodents. In many patients, plasma levels of the DHD metabolites were found to exceed those of ezutromid. Herein, we describe the structural elucidation of the main metabolites of ezutromid, the regio- and relative stereochemical assignments of DHD1 and DHD3, their de novo chemical synthesis, and their production in systems in vitro. We further elucidate the likely metabolic pathway and CYP isoforms responsible for DHD1 and DHD3 production and characterize their physicochemical, ADME, and pharmacological properties and their preliminary toxicological profiles.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Chem

Publication Date





2547 - 2556


Animals, Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases, Benzoxazoles, Humans, Liver, Metabolic Networks and Pathways, Metabolome, Mice, Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne, Naphthalenes, Naphthols, Rats, Stereoisomerism, Utrophin