1. Academic Validation
  2. Squaramides as Bioisosteres in Contemporary Drug Design

Squaramides as Bioisosteres in Contemporary Drug Design

  • Chem Rev. 2020 Oct 28;120(20):11616-11650. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c00416.
Kylie A Agnew-Francis 1 Craig M Williams 1


  • 1 School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Squaramides represent a class of vinylogous amides that are derived from the squarate oxocarbon dianion. While they have been known since the 1950s, squaramides have only recently emerged (in the last 10-20 years) as particularly useful chemical entities in a variety of applications. They have found particular use as bioisosteric replacements of several heteroatomic functional groups, notably ureas, thioureas, guanidines, and cyanoguanidines, owing in part to their similar capacity toward hydrogen bonding and ability to reliably engender defined conformations in drug ligands. This Review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the deployment of squaramides as bioisosteres within the drug design landscape. Their utility in this space is further rationalized through an examination of the physicochemical properties of squaramides in contrast to other functional groups. In addition, we consider the deployment of related cyclic oxocarbanion derivatives as potential bioisosteric replacements of ureas and related functional groups.