Pharmacological suppression of leukotriene biosynthesis by 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO)-activating protein (FLAP) inhibitors is a promising strategy to intervene with inflammatory, allergic and cardiovascular diseases. Virtual screening targeting FLAP based on a combined ligand-and structure-based pharmacophore model led to the identification of 1-(2-chlorobenzyl)-2-(1-(4-isobutylphenyl)ethyl)-1H-benzimidazole (7) as developable candidate. Compound 7 potently suppressed leukotriene formation in intact neutrophils (IC50 = 0.31 mu M) but essentially failed to directly inhibit 5-LO suggesting that interaction with FLAP causes inhibition of leukotriene synthesis. For structural optimization, a series of 46 benzimidazole-based derivatives of 7 were synthesized leading to more potent analogues (70-72, 82) with IC50 = 0.12-0.19 mu M in intact neutrophils. Together, our results disclose the benzimidazole scaffold bearing an ibuprofen fingerprint as a new chemotype for further development of anti-leukotriene agents. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.