Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a key regulator of immune responses and therefore an important therapeutic target for the treatment of diseases that involve pathological immune escape, such as cancer. Here, we describe a robust and sensitive high-throughput screen (HTS) for IDO1 inhibitors using the Prestwick Chemical Library of 1200 FDA-approved drugs and the Maybridge HitFinder Collection of 14,000 small molecules. Of the 60 hits selected for follow-up studies, 14 displayed IC50 values below 20 mu M under the secondary assay conditions, and 4 showed an activity in cellular tests. In view of the high attrition rate we used both experimental and computational techniques to identify and to characterize compounds inhibiting IDO1 through unspecific inhibition mechanisms such as chemical reactivity, redox cycling, or aggregation. One specific IDO1 inhibitor scaffold, the imidazole antifungal agents, was chosen for rational structure-based lead optimization, which led to more soluble and smaller compounds with micromolar activity. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.