The Discovery of Macitentan – A Standard Medicinal Chemistry Program?


  • Martin H. Bolli Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. Hegenheimermattweg 91, CH-4123 Allschwil, Switzerland.



Endothelin receptor antagonist, Macitentan, Medicinal chemistry, Pulmonary arterial hypertension


A plethora of properties are typically studied during a medicinal chemistry program and many of these parameters may shape the cascade of compound selection. Given the task to discover a molecule with a profile superior to that of the dual endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan, we tailored our compound profiling cascade to the specific properties that were not optimal in bosentan, namely in vivo efficacy and safety. Contrary to conventional thinking, we therefore focused on corresponding in vivo experiments. In the following, we highlight and illustrate some key learnings of our approach that led to the discovery of macitentan (1), an orally available potent dual endothelin receptor antagonist approved for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.