Preclinical investigation of a potent geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase inhibitor

Staci L. Haney, Yashpal S. Chhonker, Michelle L. Varney, Geoffrey Talmon, Daryl J. Murry, Sarah A. Holstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (GGDPS) is the enzyme in the isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway that catalyzes the synthesis of the 20-carbon isoprenoid GGPP, which serves as the isoprenoid donor for protein geranylgeranylation reactions. Rab proteins mediate vesicle trafficking within the cell and their activity is dependent on geranylgeranylation. Our prior work has demonstrated that agents that disrupt Rab geranylgeranylation disrupt monoclonal protein trafficking in myeloma cells, resulting in induction of the unfolded protein response pathway and apoptosis. VSW1198 is a potent GGDPS inhibitor with measurable cellular activity at concentrations as low as 30 nM. Due to its potent activity against myeloma cells in vitro, we were interested in evaluating the toxicology profile, pharmacokinetic (PK) profile, tissue distribution pattern and metabolic stability of VSW1198 in preparation for in vivo efficacy studies. Single dose testing via IV administration in CD-1 mice revealed a maximum tolerated dose of 0.5 mg/kg. Doses ≥1 mg/kg resulted in liver toxicity that peaked around 6–7 days post-injection. Disruption of protein geranylgeranylation following repeat dosing of VSW1198 was confirmed via immunoblot analysis of unmodified Rap1a in multiple organs. The PK studies revealed a half-life of 47.7 ± 7.4 h. VSW1198 was present in all tested tissues with the highest levels in the liver. In both human liver microsomes and mouse S9 studies VSW1198 showed complete stability, suggesting no phase I or phase II metabolism. In summary, these studies demonstrate systemic distribution, on-target disruption of protein geranylgeranylation, and metabolic stability of a potent GGDPS inhibitor VSW1198 and form the basis for future efficacy studies in mouse models of myeloma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)810-818
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase
  • Inhibitor
  • Myeloma
  • Preclinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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