Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 28;22(5):2427. doi: 10.3390/ijms22052427.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes Neisseria gonorrhoeae as an urgent-threat Gram-negative bacterial pathogen. Additionally, resistance to frontline treatment (dual therapy with azithromycin and ceftriaxone) has led to the emergence of multidrug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae, which has caused a global health crisis. The drug pipeline for N. gonorrhoeae has been severely lacking as new antibacterial agents have not been approved by the FDA in the last twenty years. Thus, there is a need for new chemical entities active against drug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae. Trifluoromethylsulfonyl (SO2CF3), trifluoromethylthio (SCF3), and pentafluorosulfanyl (SF5) containing N-(1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-yl)benzamides are novel compounds with potent activities against Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. Here, we report the discovery of new N-(1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-yl)benzamides (HSGN-237 and -238) with highly potent activity against N. gonorrhoeae. Additionally, these new compounds were shown to have activity against clinically important Gram-positive bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and Listeria monocytogenes (minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) as low as 0.25 µg/mL). Both compounds were highly tolerable to human cell lines. Moreover, HSGN-238 showed an outstanding ability to permeate across the gastrointestinal tract, indicating it would have a high systemic absorption if used as an anti-gonococcal therapeutic.