During our search for topically-active Caspase-1 inhibitors, we identified a novel class of potent inhibitors based on a 1,3,5-trisubstituted uracil motif equipped with an l-aspartate semi-aldehyde derived warhead.

In the literature, the majority of Caspase-1 inhibitors possessing the same warhead have been designed and evaluated for oral administration as the ethyl acetal pro-drug form. For our topical program, the pro-drug acetal form was not fully hydrolysed in the skin and was unstable in many of our standard topical excipients, therefore, we were obliged to focus on the actual hemiacetal drug form of the molecule during our drug discovery program. Our work focuses on both the synthesis and achiral and chiral stability of the final drug molecules in topical excipients.

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