Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Clinical data
Other namesJNJ-67953964; CERC-501; LY-2456302
Routes of
By mouth[1]
Pharmacokinetic data
Elimination half-life30–40 hours[1]
  • 4-(4-{[(2S)-2-(3,5-Dimethylphenyl)-1-pyrrolidinyl]methyl}}phenoxy)-3-fluorobenzamide
CAS Number
PubChem CID
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass418.512 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • CC1=CC(=CC(=C1)[C@@H]2CCCN2CC3=CC=C(C=C3)OC4=C(C=C(C=C4)C(=O)N)F)C
  • InChI=1S/C26H27FN2O2/c1-17-12-18(2)14-21(13-17)24-4-3-11-29(24)16-19-5-8-22(9-6-19)31-25-10-7-20(26(28)30)15-23(25)27/h5-10,12-15,24H,3-4,11,16H2,1-2H3,(H2,28,30)/t24-/m0/s1

Aticaprant, also known by its developmental codes JNJ-67953964, CERC-501, and LY-2456302, is a κ-opioid receptor (KOR) antagonist which is under development for the treatment of major depressive disorder.[2][3][4] A regulatory application for approval of the medication is expected to be submitted by 2025.[2] Aticaprant is taken by mouth.[1]

Side effects of aticaprant include itching, among others.[4][5] Aticaprant acts as a selective antagonist of the KOR, the biological target of the endogenous opioid peptide dynorphin.[3] The medication has decent selectivity for the KOR over the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) and other targets, a relatively long half-life of 30 to 40 hours, and readily crosses the blood–brain barrier to produce central effects.[4][6]

Aticaprant was originally developed by Eli Lilly, was under development by Cerecor for a time, and is now under development by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.[2] As of July 2022, it is in phase 3 clinical trials for major depressive disorder.[2] Like other kappa opioid antagonists currently under clinical investigation for the treatment of major depression, its efficacy may be compromised by the countervailing activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines in microglia within the CNS.[7]

Aticaprant was also under development for the treatment of alcoholism, cocaine use disorder, and smoking withdrawal, but development for these indications was discontinued.[2]



Aticaprant is a potent, selective, short-acting (i.e., non-"inactivating") antagonist of the KOR (Ki = 0.81 nM vs. 24.0 nM and 155 nM for the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) and δ-opioid receptor (DOR), respectively; approximately 30-fold selectivity for the KOR).[8][9][10] The drug has been found to dose-dependently block fentanyl-induced miosis at 25 mg and 60 mg in humans (with minimal to no blockade at doses of 4 to 10 mg), suggesting that the drug significantly occupies and antagonizes the MOR at a dose of at least 25 mg but not of 10 mg or less.[10] However, a more recent study assessing neuroendocrine effects of the drug in normal volunteers and subjects with a history of cocaine dependence reported observations consistent with modest MOR antagonism at the 10 mg dose.[11] In animal models of depression, aticaprant has been found to have potent synergistic efficacy in combination with other antidepressants such as citalopram and imipramine.[12]

Positron emission tomography imaging revealed that brain KORs were almost completely saturated by the drug 2.5 hours following a single dose of 10 mg, which supported the 4 mg to 25 mg dosages that aticaprant is being explored at in clinical trials.[13][14] Occupancy was 35% for a 0.5 mg dose and 94% for a 10 mg dose.[15][14] At 24 hours post-dose, receptor occupancy was 19% for 0.5 mg and 82% for 25 mg.[15][14] No serious side effects were observed, and all side effects seen were mild to moderate and were not thought to be due to aticaprant.[14]


The oral bioavailability of aticaprant is 25%.[1] The drug is rapidly absorbed, with maximal concentrations occurring 1 to 2 hours after administration.[1] It has an elimination half-life of 30 to 40 hours in healthy subjects.[1] The circulating levels of aticaprant increase proportionally with increasing doses.[1] Steady-state concentrations are reached after 6 to 8 days of once-daily dosing.[1] Aticaprant has been shown to reproducibly penetrate the blood–brain barrier.[13][14]


Aticaprant was originally developed by Eli Lilly under the code name LY-2456302.[2] It first appeared in the scientific literature in 2010 or 2011.[16][17] The compound was first patented in 2009.[18]

In February 2015, Cerecor Inc. announced that they had acquired the rights from Eli Lilly to develop and commercialize LY-2456302 (under the new developmental code CERC-501).[19]

As of 2016, aticaprant has reached phase II clinical trials as an augmentation to antidepressant therapy for treatment-resistant depression.[20][12] A phase II study of aticaprant in heavy smokers was commenced in early 2016 and results of the study were expected before the end of 2016.[14] Aticaprant failed to meet its main endpoint for nicotine withdrawal in the study.[21]

In August 2017, it was announced that Cerecor had sold its rights to aticaprant to Janssen Pharmaceuticals.[22][21] Janssen was also experimenting with esketamine for the treatment of depression as of 2017.[21]


In addition to major depressive disorder, aticaprant was under development for the treatment of alcoholism, cocaine use disorder, and smoking withdrawal.[2] However, development for these indications was discontinued.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Li W, Sun H, Chen H, Yang X, Xiao L, Liu R, et al. (2016). "Major Depressive Disorder and Kappa Opioid Receptor Antagonists". Translational Perioperative and Pain Medicine. 1 (2): 4–16. PMC 4871611. PMID 27213169.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "CERC 501". Adis Insight. 30 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Browne CA, Wulf H, Lucki I (2022). "Kappa Opioid Receptors in the Pathology and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder". In Liu-Chen LY, Inan S (eds.). The Kappa Opioid Receptor. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. Vol. 271. pp. 493–524. doi:10.1007/164_2020_432. ISBN 978-3-030-89073-5. PMID 33580854. S2CID 231908782.
  4. ^ a b c Reed B, Butelman ER, Kreek MJ (2022). "Kappa Opioid Receptor Antagonists as Potential Therapeutics for Mood and Substance Use Disorders". In Liu-Chen LY, Inan S (eds.). The Kappa Opioid Receptor. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. Vol. 271. pp. 473–491. doi:10.1007/164_2020_401. ISBN 978-3-030-89073-5. PMID 33174064. S2CID 226305229.
  5. ^ Krystal AD, Pizzagalli DA, Smoski M, Mathew SJ, Nurnberger J, Lisanby SH, et al. (May 2020). "A randomized proof-of-mechanism trial applying the 'fast-fail' approach to evaluating κ-opioid antagonism as a treatment for anhedonia". Nature Medicine. 26 (5): 760–768. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0806-7. PMC 9949770. PMID 32231295. S2CID 256839849.
  6. ^ Dhir A (January 2017). "Investigational drugs for treating major depressive disorder". Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. 26 (1): 9–24. doi:10.1080/13543784.2017.1267727. PMID 27960559. S2CID 45232796.
  7. ^ Missig G, Fritsch EL, Mehta N, Damon ME, Jarrell EM, Bartlett AA, et al. (January 2022). "Blockade of kappa-opioid receptors amplifies microglia-mediated inflammatory responses". Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 212: 173301. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2021.173301. PMC 8748402. PMID 34826432.
  8. ^ Rorick-Kehn LM, Witkin JM, Statnick MA, Eberle EL, McKinzie JH, Kahl SD, et al. (February 2014). "LY2456302 is a novel, potent, orally-bioavailable small molecule kappa-selective antagonist with activity in animal models predictive of efficacy in mood and addictive disorders". Neuropharmacology. 77: 131–144. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.09.021. PMID 24071566. S2CID 3230414.
  9. ^ Lowe SL, Wong CJ, Witcher J, Gonzales CR, Dickinson GL, Bell RL, et al. (September 2014). "Safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic evaluation of single- and multiple-ascending doses of a novel kappa opioid receptor antagonist LY2456302 and drug interaction with ethanol in healthy subjects". Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 54 (9): 968–978. doi:10.1002/jcph.286. PMID 24619932. S2CID 14814449.
  10. ^ a b Rorick-Kehn LM, Witcher JW, Lowe SL, Gonzales CR, Weller MA, Bell RL, et al. (October 2014). "Determining pharmacological selectivity of the kappa opioid receptor antagonist LY2456302 using pupillometry as a translational biomarker in rat and human". The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 18 (2): pyu036. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyu036. PMC 4368892. PMID 25637376.
  11. ^ Reed B, Butelman ER, Fry RS, Kimani R, Kreek MJ (March 2018). "Repeated Administration of Opra Kappa (LY2456302), a Novel, Short-Acting, Selective KOP-r Antagonist, in Persons with and without Cocaine Dependence". Neuropsychopharmacology. 43 (4): 928. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.245. PMC 5809790. PMID 29422497.
  12. ^ a b Urbano M, Guerrero M, Rosen H, Roberts E (May 2014). "Antagonists of the kappa opioid receptor". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 24 (9): 2021–2032. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.03.040. PMID 24690494.
  13. ^ a b "Publication Reports Human Brain Penetration and Target Engagement of Cerecor's Oral Kappa Opioid Receptor Antagonist, CERC-501". BusinessWire. 11 December 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Naganawa M, Dickinson GL, Zheng MQ, Henry S, Vandenhende F, Witcher J, et al. (February 2016). "Receptor Occupancy of the κ-Opioid Antagonist LY2456302 Measured with Positron Emission Tomography and the Novel Radiotracer 11C-LY2795050". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 356 (2): 260–266. doi:10.1124/jpet.115.229278. PMC 4727157. PMID 26628406.
  15. ^ a b Placzek MS (August 2021). "Imaging Kappa Opioid Receptors in the Living Brain with Positron Emission Tomography". In Liu-Chen LY, Inan S (eds.). The Kappa Opioid Receptor. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. Vol. 271. pp. 547–577. doi:10.1007/164_2021_498. ISBN 978-3-030-89073-5. PMID 34363128. S2CID 236947969.
  16. ^ Zheng MQ, Nabulsi N, Kim SJ, Tomasi G, Lin SF, Mitch C, et al. (March 2013). "Synthesis and evaluation of 11C-LY2795050 as a κ-opioid receptor antagonist radiotracer for PET imaging". Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 54 (3): 455–463. doi:10.2967/jnumed.112.109512. PMC 3775344. PMID 23353688.
  17. ^ Mitch CH, Quimby SJ, Diaz N, Pedregal C, de la Torre MG, Jimenez A, et al. (December 2011). "Discovery of aminobenzyloxyarylamides as κ opioid receptor selective antagonists: application to preclinical development of a κ opioid receptor antagonist receptor occupancy tracer". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 54 (23): 8000–8012. doi:10.1021/jm200789r. PMID 21958337.
  18. ^ "WO2009094260A1 - Kappa selective opioid receptor antagonist". Google Patents. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Cerecor Bolsters Clinical Pipeline with Acquisition of Phase 2-ready Kappa Opioid Receptor Antagonist from Eli Lilly and Company". cerecor.com. February 20, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  20. ^ Rankovic Z, Hargreaves R, Bingham M (2012). Drug Discovery for Psychiatric Disorders. Royal Society of Chemistry. pp. 314–317. ISBN 978-1-84973-365-6.
  21. ^ a b c Bushey R (August 2017). "J&J Adds New Depression Drug to Portfolio". Drug Discovery and Development Magazine.
  22. ^ "Cerecor Announces Divestiture of CERC-501 to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc". Marketwired. August 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-01.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]