BACE-1 Inhibitors: From Recent Single-Target Molecules to Multitarget Compounds for Alzheimer's Disease

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External organisations

  • University of Dundee
  • Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
  • Università di Bologna


The amyloid hypothesis has long been the central dogma in drug discovery for Alzheimer's disease (AD), leading to many small-molecule and biological drug candidates. One major target has been the β-site amyloid-precursor-protein-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE-1), with many big pharma companies expending great resources in the search for BACE-1 inhibitors. The lack of efficacy of verubecestat in mild-to-moderate AD raises important questions about the timing of intervention with BACE-1 inhibitors, and anti-amyloid therapies in general, in AD treatment. It also suggests new possibilities for discovering BACE-1-targeted compounds with more complex mechanisms of actions and improved efficacy. Herein, we review the major advances in BACE-1 drug discovery, from single-target small molecule inhibitors to multitarget compounds. We discuss these compounds as innovative tools for better understanding the complexity of AD and for identifying efficacious drug candidates to treat this devastating disease.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-637
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2018

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