Oral Peptides: A New Era in Drug Development

Graphical abstract of cyclic oral peptides. (Credit: Christian Heinis/EPFL).

For decades, a substantial number of proteins, vital for treating various diseases, have remained elusive to oral drug therapy. Traditional small molecules often struggle to bind to proteins with flat surfaces or require specificity for particular protein homologs. Typically, larger biologics that can target these proteins demand injection, limiting patient convenience and accessibility. In a new study published December 28, 2023 in Nature Chemical Biology, scientists from the laboratory of Professor Christian Heinis at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) have achieved a significant milestone in drug development. Their research opens the door to a new class of orally available drugs, addressing a long-standing challenge in the pharmaceutical industry. The open-access article is titled “De novo Development of Small Cyclic Peptides That Are Orally Bioavailable.”

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