SBIR Phase II: Novel approach to the oral delivery of biologically active peptide analogs

Period of Performance: 04/02/2015 - 09/30/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Longevity Biotech, Inc
3624 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is very significant. Current peptide-based drugs constitute important tools in human healthcare, and development of new peptide-based drugs represents a growing proportion of the pharmaceutical research effort. Current peptide drugs addressing widespread diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and osteoporosis have sales above $1 billion. These drugs must be delivered by injection. This SBIR aims for new drugs with comparable heath benefits that can be taken in pill form, because the convenience of oral delivery, relative to injection, would rapidly capture most of the market. The high stability engendered by our design strategy should enable drug development for diseases that currently cannot be treated. Thus, the commercial potential of this project is high. Orally delivered replacements for injectable drugs would have a substantial broader impact because they would enhance patient compliance. Inadequate treatment of T2DM for example, leads to adverse health consequences that degrade productivity and quality of life for patients. Increased compliance resulting from a general ability to deliver peptide drugs in pill form would vastly improve outcomes for patients, including the specific patients populations targeted by our current programs. The proposed project is motivated by fundamental questions about the way drug molecules are processed in the human body. Drug candidates cannot address a human disease unless they reach the appropriate sites within the body and then persist in those sites. The proposed research focuses on a particular class of bioactive compounds called "peptides." Peptides can act in powerful and favorable ways within the body, with high specificity of action (which minimizes "side effects"), but they are subject to very rapid destruction after administration. This weakness of peptides requires that they be injected regularly, but peptide drugs would be much more useful if they could be taken orally. This SBIR Phase I project examines unique peptide-like molecules that are designed to retain the favorable pharmaceutical action of peptides themselves but to resist degradation mechanisms within the body that rapidly destroy peptides. The stomach is the most destructive site for peptides, and this project aims to generate peptide-like molecules that are sufficiently robust to survive the stomach and reach the small intestine, where they can be absorbed. Achieving these molecular design goals would have high intellectual merit in addition to advancing drug design.