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Protagonist Therapeutics Inc.

Discovering oral anti-inflammatory peptide therapeutics

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

It takes one to know one. That’s the road that Protagonist Therapeutics Inc. has taken in forging alliances with other small companies focused on developing peptide therapeutics, instead of taking the more conventional step of signing a Big Pharma partner. Protagonist has found that smaller firms understand the value of its platform and what it can deliver. Protagonist’s platform revolves around disulfide-rich peptides, a specific subclass of peptides whose molecular structure makes them unusually stable. That characteristic lowers their susceptibility to enzymatic degradation and therefore boosts the potential that they can become oral drugs. Advocates see DRPs as combining the best aspects of both proteins and small molecules: physically large enough to suitably cover the surfaces of important molecular targets now bound only by injectable proteins, yet small enough to have pharmacokinetic properties similar to small molecules.

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