Nicolas Masurier

Nicolas masurier
Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Montpellier University

Nicolas Masurier was born in Yvetôt (France) in 1977. He first received his PharmD degree in 2003, before he obtained his PhD in 2006 from the University of Rouen (France) under the supervision of Prof. O. Lafont, working on the synthesis of β-cyclodextrin derivatives with hydrolytic activity against organophosphorous neurotoxics. Then, he moved to the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) in the group of Pr. J.C. Teulade as an assistant-lecturer and worked on heterocyclic derivatives as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. He is currently professor in medicinal chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Montpellier. He worked at the Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron (IBMM), where his current research interests focus on the design, the preparation of new anticancer agents, PROTACs and kallikrein inhibitors.

+33 (0)4 48 79 21 84

5 major publications :

S. Aït Amiri, C. Deboux, F. Soualmia, N. Chaaya, M. Louet, E. Duplus, S. Betuing, B. Nait Oumesmar, N. Masurier, C. El Amri, Identification of First-in-Class Inhibitors of Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 6 That Promote Oligodendrocyte Differentiation, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2021, 64 (9), 5667-5688

C. Bonnel, B. Legrand, M. Simon, M. Clavié, A. Masnou, E. Jumas-Bilak, Y.K. Kang, P. Licznar-Fajardo, L.T. Maillard, L.T., N. Masurier, Tailoring the Physicochemical Properties of Antimicrobial Peptides onto a Thiazole-Based γ-Peptide Foldamer, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2020, 63 (17), 9168-9180

A. Feral, G. Laconde, M. Amblard, N. Masurier, PROteolysis TArgetting Chimeras (PROTACs) strategy applied to kinases: recent advances, Advanced Therapeutics, 2020, 3 (11), 2000148

P. Le Baccon-Sollier, Y. Malki, M. Maye, L. M.A. Ali, L. Lichon, P. Cuq, L.-A. Vincent, N. Masurier, Imidazopyridine-fused [1,3]diazepinones: Modulations of positions 2 to 4 and their impacts on the anti-melanoma activity, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 2020, 35 (1), 935-949

V. Bellet, L. Lichon, D. P. Arama, A. Gallud, V. Lisowski, L. T. Maillard, M. Garcia, J. Martinez, N. Masurier, Imidazopyridine-fused [1,3]-diazepinones Part 2: Structure-Activity Relationships and antiproliferative activity against melanoma cells, Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2017, 125, 1225-34

Vegetable Oil-based Hybrid Submicron Particles Loaded with JMV5038: A Promising Formulation against Melanoma

J Pharm Sci 2020 Oct 15;S0022-3549(20)30611-0.

Koceïla Doufène, Yohan Malki, Laure-Anaïs Vincent, Pierre Cuq, Jean-Marie Devoisselle, Nicolas Masurier and Anne Aubert-Pouëssel




The aim of this work was to carry out a preformulation study on JMV5038 as a new potent cytotoxic agent, and to develop its formulation within vegetable oil-based hybrid submicron particles (HNP) in order to obtain a versatile dosage form against melanoma. JMV5038 was first characterized through physico-chemical tests and it exhibited high melting point and logP value, an important pH-sensitivity that led to the formation of well-identified degradation products at low pH, as well as a substantial solubility value in silylated castor oil (ICO). Then, JMV5038-loaded HNP were formulated through a thermostabilized emulsion process based on the sol-gel cross-linking of ICO. They showed high loading efficiency and their in vitro release kinetic assessed in a biorelevant PBS/octanol biphasic system showed a constant sustained release over one month. The cytotoxic activity and cytocompatibility of HNP were evaluated on A375 melanoma cells and NIH 3T3 cells, respectively. JMV5038-loaded HNP exhibited a slightly enhanced cytotoxic activity of JMV5038 on melanoma cells while demonstrating their safety on NIH 3T3 cells. In conclusion, JMV5038-loaded HNP proved to be an efficient and safe drug subcutaneous delivery system that will be interesting to evaluate through preclinical studies.

Tailoring the Physicochemical Properties of Antimicrobial Peptides onto a Thiazole-Based γ-Peptide Foldamer

J. Med. Chem. 2020, 63, 17, 9168–9180.

Clément BonnelBaptiste Legrand Matthieu SimonMargaux ClaviéAgnès Masnou  Estelle Jumas-BilakYoung Kee KangPatricia Licznar-Fajardo, Ludovic T Maillard and Nicolas Masurier




Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are amphipathic molecules displaying broad-spectrum bactericidal activity, providing opportunities to develop a new generation of antibiotics. However, their use is limited either by poor metabolic stability or by high hemolytic activity. We herein addressed the potential of thiazole-based γ-peptide oligomers named ATCs as tunable scaffolds to design polycationic AMP mimetics. Knowing the side chain distribution along the backbone, we rationally designed facially amphiphilic sequences with bactericidal effect in the micromolar range. Since no hemolytic activity was detected up to 100 μM, this class of compounds has shown the potential for therapeutic development.

Identification of Quinazolinone Analogs Targeting CDK5 Kinase Activity and Glioblastoma Cell Proliferation

Front Chem. 2020; 8: 691.

Marion Peyressatre, Dominique Patomo Arama, Arthur Laure, Juan A. González-Vera, Morgan Pellerano, Nicolas Masurier, Vincent Lisowski, May C. Morris



CDK5/p25 kinase plays a major role in neuronal functions, and is hyperactivated in several human cancers including glioblastoma and neurodegenerative pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. CDK5 therefore constitutes an attractive pharmacological target. Since the successful discovery and development of Roscovitine, several ATP-competitive inhibitors of CDK5 and peptide inhibitors of CDK5/p25 interface have been developed. However, these compounds suffer limitations associated with their mechanism of action and nature, thereby calling for alternative targeting strategies. To date, few allosteric inhibitors have been developed for successful targeting of protein kinases. Indeed, although this latter class of inhibitors are believed to be more selective than compounds targeting the active site, they have proven extremely difficult to identify in high throughput screens. By implementing a fluorescent biosensor that discriminates against ATP-pocket binding compounds to screen for allosteric inhibitors that target conformational activation of CDK5, we have identified a novel family of quinazolinones. Characterization of these hits and several of their derivatives revealed their inhibitory potential toward CDK5 kinase activity in vitro and to inhibit glioblastoma cell proliferation. The quinazolinone derivatives described in this study are the first small molecules reported to target CDK5 at a site other than the ATP pocket, thereby constituting attractive leads for glioblastoma therapeutics and providing therapeutic perspectives for neurodegenerative diseases. These compounds offer alternatives to conventional ATP-competitive inhibitors or peptides targeting CDK5/p25 interface with the potential of bypassing their limitations.

PROteolysis TArgetting Chimeras (PROTACs) Strategy Applied to Kinases: Recent Advances

Adv. Therap.2020, 2000148.

Anthony Feral, Guillaume Laconde, Muriel Amblard and Nicolas Masurier




Since the development of the first protein kinase inhibitor in the early 1980s, followed by the FDA approval of imatinib in 2001, kinases are one of the most intensively pursued targets in current medicinal chemistry research. These proteins are overrepresented in various diseases such as cancer, inflammation or autoimmune pathologies and play important roles in their physiopathogenic processes. Despite the development and approval of numerous potent kinase inhibitors, drug resistance and off‐target side effects are commonly encountered with kinase inhibitors. Thus, development of novel strategies to overcome these problems is necessary. Since 2013, many research groups have proposed the conversion of potent kinase inhibitors into PROteolysis TArgeting Chimera (PROTAC) compounds and shared relevant and encouraging results using this new technology, which degrades proteins by employing the cellular machinery. Generally, this strategy brings enhancements in biological effects compared to the use of only the parent inhibitor. In this review article, recent findings related to the PROTAC technology applied to kinases are discussed, with a special focus on publications since 2018.

Imidazopyridine-fused [1,3]diazepinones: modulations of positions 2 to 4 and their impacts on the anti-melanoma activity

J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2020; 35(1): 935–949.

Paul Le Baccon-Sollier, Yohan Malki, Morgane Maye, Lamiaa M. A. Ali, Laure Lichon, Pierre Cuq, Laure-Anaïs Vincent, and Nicolas Masurier



A series of 19 novel pyrido-imidazodiazepinones, with modulations of positions 2, 3 and 4 of the diazepine ring were synthesised and screened for their in vitro cytotoxic activities against two melanoma cell lines (A375 and MDA-MB-435) and for their potential toxicity against NIH-3T3 non-cancerous cells. Selected compounds were also evaluated on the NCI-60 cell line panel. The SAR study revealed that the molecular volume and the cLogP of compounds modified at position 2 were significantly correlated with the activity of these compounds on melanoma cell lines. Moreover, introduction of a heterocyclic group at position 2 or an azido-alkyl chain at position 4 led to compounds displaying a significantly different activity profile on the NCI-60 cell line panel, compared to phenyl-substituted compounds at position 2 of the diazepinone. This study provides us crucial information for the development of new derivatives active against melanoma.

Site-specific grafting on titanium surfaces with hybrid temporin antibacterial peptides

J. Mater. Chem. B, 2018,6, 1782-1790. doi 10.1039/C8TB00051D


Relying on a membrane-disturbing mechanism of action and not on any intracellular target, antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are attractive compounds to be grafted on the surface of implantable materials such as silicone catheters or titanium surgical implants. AMP sequences often display numerous reactive functions (e.g. amine, carboxylic acid) on their side chains and straightforward conjugation chemistries could lead to uncontrolled covalent grafting, random orientation, and non-homogenous density. To achieve an easy and site specific covalent attachment of unprotected peptides on titanium surfaces, we designed hybrid silylated biomolecules based on the temporin-SHa amphipathic helical antimicrobial sequence. With the grafting reaction being chemoselective, we designed five analogues displaying the silane anchoring function at the N-ter, C-ter or at different positions inside the sequence to get an accurate control of the orientation. Grafting density calculations were performed by XPS and the influence of the orientation of the peptide on the surface was clearly demonstrated by the measure of antimicrobial activity. Temporin amphipathic helices are described to permeabilize the bacterial membrane by interacting in a parallel orientation with it. Our results move in the direction of this mechanism as the selective grafting of hybrid temporin 2 through a lysine placed at the center of the peptide sequence, resulted in better biofilm growth inhibition of E. coli and S. epidermis than substrates in which temporins were grafted via their C- or N-terminus.

Inhibitors of kallikrein-related peptidases: An overview.

Med Res Rev. 2018 Mar;38(2):655-683. doi: 10.1002/med.21451.

Masurier N, Arama DP, El Amri C, Lisowski V.


Kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) are a family of 15 secreted serine proteases that are involved in various physiological processes. Their activities are subtly regulated by various endogenous inhibitors, ranging from metallic ions to macromolecular entities such as proteins. Furthermore, dysregulation of KLK activity has been linked to several pathologies, including cancer and skin and inflammatory diseases, explaining the numerous efforts to develop KLK-specific pharmacological inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents. In this review, we focus on the huge repertoire of KLKs inhibitors reported to date with a special emphasis on the diversity of their molecular mechanisms of inhibition.

C9/12 Ribbon-Like Structures in Hybrid Peptides Alternating α- and Thiazole-Based γ-Amino Acids

Chemistry. 2017 Dec 11;23(69):17584-17591. doi: 10.1002/chem.201704001. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Bonnel C, Legrand B, Simon M, Martinez J, Bantignies JL, Kang YK, Wenger E, Hoh F, Masurier N, Maillard LT.


According to their restricted conformational freedom, heterocyclic γ-amino acids are usually considered to be related to Z-vinylogous γ-amino acids. In this context, oligomers alternating α-amino acids and thiazole-based γ-amino acids (ATCs) were expected to fold into a canonical 12-helical shape as described for α/γ-hybrid peptides composed of cis-α/β-unsaturated γ-amino acids. However, through a combination of X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, FTIR experiments, and DFT calculations, it was determined that the folding behavior of ATC-containing hybrid peptides is much more complex. The homochiral α/(S)-ATC sequences were unable to adopt a stable conformation, whereas the heterochiral α/(R)-ATC peptides displayed novel ribbon structures stabilized by unusual C9/12 -bifurcated hydrogen bonds. These ribbon structures could be considered as a succession of pre-organized γ/α dipeptides and may provide the basis for designing original α-helix mimics.

FT-IR and NMR structural markers for thiazole-based γ-peptide foldamers

Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2016, Volume: 14, Issue: 37, Pages: 8664-8669, DOI: 10.1039/C6OB01594H

C. Bonnel, B. Legrand, J. L. Bantignies, H. Petitjean, J. Martinez, N. Masurier, L. T. Maillard 


In the search of new robust and environmental-friendly anal. methods able to answer quant. issues in pharmacol., we explore liq. chromatog. (LC) assocd. with elemental mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to monitor peptides in such complex biol. matrixes.  The novelty is to use mass spectrometry to replace radiolabelling and radioactivity measurements, which represent up-to now the gold std. to measure org. compd. concns. in life science.  As a proof of concept, we choose the vasopressin (AVP)/V1A receptor system for model pharmacol. assays.  The capacity of ICP-MS to provide highly sensitive quantitation of metallic and hetero elements, whatever the sample medium, prompted us to investigate this technique in combination with appropriate labeling of the peptide of interest.  Selenium, that is scarcely present in biol. media, was selected as a good compromise between ICP-MS response, covalent tagging ability using conventional sulfur chem. and peptide detection specificity.  Applying selenium monitoring by elemental mass spectrometry in pharmacol. is challenging due to the very high salt content and org. material complexity of the samples that produces polyat. aggregates and thus potentially mass interferences with selenium detection.  Hyphenation with a chromatog. sepn. was found compulsory.  Noteworthy, we aimed to develop a straightforward quant. protocol that can be performed in any lab. equipped with a std. macrobore LC-ICP-MS system, in order to avoid time-consuming sample treatment or special implementation of instrumental set-up, while allowing efficient suppression of all mass interferences to reach the targeted sensitivity.  Significantly, a quantification limit of 57 ng Se L-1 (72 fmol of injected Se) was achieved, the samples issued from the pharmacol. assays being directly introduced into the LC-ICP-MS system.  The established method was successfully validated and applied to the measurement of the vasopressin ligand affinity for its V1A receptor through the detn. of the dissocn. const. (Kd) which was compared to the one recorded with conventional radioactivity assays.

Imidazopyridine-fused [1,3]-diazepinones part 2: Structure-activity relationships and antiproliferative activity against melanoma cells

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2016, Volume: 125, Pages: 1225-1234, DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.11.023

V. Bellet, L. Lichon, D. P. Arama, A. Gallud,  V. Lisowski, L. T. Maillard, M. Garcia, J. Martinez, N. Masurier

Diapositive 1


We recently described a pyrido-imidazodiazepinone deriv. which could be a promising hit compd. for the development of new drugs acting against melanoma cells. In this study, a series of 28 novel pyrido-imidazodiazepinones were synthesized and screened for their in vitro cytotoxic activities against the melanoma MDA-MB-435 cell line. Among the derivs., seven of them showed 50% growth inhibitory activity at 1 μM concn., and high selectivity against the melanoma cell line MDA-MB-435.