2-Amino-6-fluoro-9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)purine (2) and its ester derivatives 4a-d were synthesized as potential prodrugs of acyclovir, and were evaluated for their oral acyclovir bioavailability in rats and in vivo antiviral efficacy in HSV-1-infected mice. Treatment of 2-amino-6-chloro-9-(2-hydroxyethoxymethyl)purine (3) with trimethylamine in THF/DMF (4:1) followed by a reaction of the resulting trimethylammonium chloride salt 5 with KF in DMF gave 2 in 78% yield. Esterification of 2 with an appropriate acid anhydride (Ac2O, (EtCO)2O, (n-PrCO)2O, or (i-PrCO)2O) in DMF in the presence of a catalytic amount of DMAP at room temperature produced the esters 4a-d in 90-98% yields. Of the prodrugs tested in rats, the isobutyrate 4d achieved the highest mean urinary recovery of acyclovir (51%) that is 5.7-fold higher than that of acyclovir (9%) and comparable to that of valacyclovir (50%). The prodrug 4d protected dose-dependently the mortality of HSV-1-infected mice, and the group treated with 4d at a dose of 400mg/kg showed the longest mean survival day (14.6±3.1 days) (mean±S.D.). Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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