Our breakthrough technologies allow us to overcome synthetic problems that existing pharmaceuticals confront
Combining the benefits of both small molecules and biologics
Pharmaceuticals are generally known as small molecules with a molecular weight less than 500 Daltons, and taken orally. At the other end of the scale, the development of biotechnology has led to the emergence of biologics which have high molecular weight. Antibodies, very large molecules with a molecular weight of about 150,000 Daltons, are a good example of this. Biologics produce pharmacological effects because they can act on targeted molecules that cannot be controlled by small molecule drugs. Despite this advantage, however, biologics are expensive and can be time consuming to produce as the use of living organisms, such as genetically modified cells, are required for manufacturing.
Peptides, in terms of molecular weight, fall between the typical small molecule and larger biologics, and are now attracting lots of attention. Peptides can demonstrate molecular interaction with drug targets unavailable to small molecule drugs such as G protein-coupled receptors, and in contrast to biologics, they can be manufactured by chemical synthesis.
Can deal with the rising healthcare costs associated with the use of biologics
A key issue confronted by the healthcare industry is the trend in the rising costs associated with treatment. While it is essential to develop new drugs for unmet medical needs, public healthcare systems are unable to handle the burden of soaring medical costs. Some countries that operate public healthcare services have already stopped listing certain drugs for treatment because the prices are too high—sometimes even for new groundbreaking ‘miracle’ drugs.
Similar to small molecules, the active pharmaceutical ingredient for peptide therapeutics can also be produced by chemical synthesis, meaning that high manufacturing costs associated with biologics can be avoided through the development of peptides. This can lead to revolutionary and innovative new drugs at affordable costs for patients.
Providing new opportunities to develop innovative drugs toward difficult molecular targets
Owing to advancements in genetic engineering, research techniques have been established in recent years for discovering peptides that do not originally exist in organisms, but can function as lead compounds for new drugs. Accordingly, lots of research is being carried out to generate peptide therapeutics amidst expectations that they can act on targets that are difficult for small molecules. Furthermore, chemically modified synthetically challenging peptide-based drug candidates for clinical development are now being created due to the advances in synthetic processes and manufacturing methods.