Peptide drugs can be designed with high selectivity for the complex pathways associated with metabolic disorders. Compared with small molecules, they offer the advantage of exquisite structural interaction with molecular targets due to greater receptor selectivity. Yet peptide therapeutics remain underutilized in drug development.

Recent advances in peptide chemistry and manufacturing, and the fundamental advantages that peptides hold for targeting complex metabolic pathways, make peptides a compelling area for new drug development. Today, 26 therapeutic peptides are approved in the U.S., with an approval success rate that is two times higher that of small molecule drugs, and there is a significant opportunity to expand on this success rate in metabolic diseases.

The MC4R and Ghrelin programs leverage advances in peptide engineering, synthesis, and formulation to enable the design of novel peptide therapeutics that retain the inherent selectivity and specificity of the human hormones from which they are derived, improve on their potency, and reduce the risk of off-target adverse effects compared with small-molecule drugs.