The peptide is a compound formed by connecting multiple amino acids through peptide bonds, usually composed of 10 to 100 amino acid molecules. The connection method is the same as that of protein, and its relative molecular mass is less than 10,000. In recent years, with the development and maturity of peptide synthesis technology, peptide drugs have become one of the hot spots in drug research and development. Because of their wide indications, high safety, and remarkable efficacy, they have been widely used to prevent, diagnose, and treat tumors, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, hepatitis, diabetes, AIDS, and other diseases with broad prospects for development.
With the continuous expanded clinical application of peptide medications and the successive launch of new products, the status of such drugs in clinical treatment has been continuously improved. And many varieties have been included in relevant disease treatment guidelines and supported by expert consensus. With the rapid development of technologies related to peptide synthesis (such as the solid-phase peptide synthesis technology), equipment, and processes, the development and production costs of peptide medications have been drastically reduced, and the development of peptide drugs has continued to gain momentum.
Compared with small molecule drugs, the probability of peptide medications being approved for marketing through clinical trials is two times higher than that of small molecule drugs. The average research and development cycle is 0.7 years less, and the metabolites are amino acids. Generally, it is not necessary to consider whether the metabolites of peptide drugs are toxic. The chemical peptide synthesis technology is now mature enough in terms of protein and monoclonal antibody drugs. The research and development cost is lower than that of the former two. The product is easy to separate from impurities; the purity is high, and it is easy to introduce unnatural amino acids for transformation. All these are the intuitive feelings about initial investment in peptide drugs. What are the characteristics of peptide drugs?
1. Peptide drugs have high safety and high target affinity. Peptides are mainly eliminated by proteolytic degradation and renal filtration. The products of hydrolysis are amino acids. Therefore, it is not necessary to consider whether the metabolites of peptide medications are toxic.
2. The developed peptide drugs often use endogenous peptides as templates, usually having a higher target affinity and a more negligible risk of off-target.
3. The development of peptide medications has expanded to many disease treatment fields, including anti-infection, anti-tumor, physiological regulation, pain, heart failure, osteoporosis, diabetes, vaccines, etc. It can be expected that peptide drugs may soon replace existing chemical small-molecule medicines.