This Letter describes the chemical optimization of a novel series of M4 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on a 5,6-dimethyl-4-(piperidin-1-yl)thieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine core, identified from an MLPCN functional high-throughput screen. The HTS hit was potent and selective, but not CNS penetrant. Potency was maintained, while CNS penetration was improved (rat brain:plasma Kp=0.74), within the original core after several rounds of optimization; however, the thieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine core was subject to extensive oxidative metabolism. Ultimately, we identified a 6-fluoroquinazoline core replacement that afforded good M4 PAM potency, muscarinic receptor subtype selectivity and CNS penetration (rat brain:plasma Kp>10). Moreover, this campaign provided fundamentally distinct M4 PAM chemotypes, greatly expanding the available structural diversity for this exciting CNS target.
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