Orally efficacious lead of the AVG inhibitor series targeting a dynamic interface in the respiratory syncytial virus polymerase
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of lower respiratory infections in infants and the immunocompromised, yet no efficient therapeutic exists. We have identified the AVG class of allosteric inhibitors of RSV RNA synthesis. Here, we demonstrate through biolayer interferometry and in vitro RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) assays that AVG compounds bind to the viral polymerase, stalling the polymerase in initiation conformation. Resistance profiling revealed a unique escape pattern, suggesting a discrete docking pose. Affinity mapping using photoreactive AVG analogs identified the interface of polymerase core, capping, and connector domains as a molecular target site. A first-generation lead showed nanomolar potency against RSV in human airway epithelium organoids but lacked in vivo efficacy. Docking pose-informed synthetic optimization generated orally efficacious AVG-388, which showed potent efficacy in the RSV mouse model when administered therapeutically. This study maps a druggable target in the RSV RdRP and establishes clinical potential of the AVG chemotype against RSV disease.