The low molecular weights of HALs provide significant advantages over conventional peptides or monoclonal antibody therapies. These include protection against proteolytic degradation, reduced immunologic responses, enhanced tissue penetration, oral bioavailability, the possibility of topical or inhalation delivery, and improved pharmacokinetics through chemical modifications such as pegylation.
“One of the greatest advantages of D-peptides over monoclonal antibodies is production costs,” says Dr. Wagner. Compared to monoclonal antibodies, HALs are very small, so about 1/60 less of a D-peptide is required to be therapeutically effective in the body. This reduces costs and unwanted side effects. Additionally, D-peptide drugs, which are synthesized chemically, are up to two-thirds cheaper to manufacture than monoclonal antibodies. “You do not need big antibody production plants that cost millions of dollars to set up and operate.”
Cosmix is seeking biotechnology and pharmaceutical partners to advance the development and commercialization of HALs. Research alliances could explore existing HAL programs or create new HALs for targets of interest to a partner.
In its latest collaboration, Cosmix teamed up with Opsonics Therapeutics. Opsonics will use Cosmix’ mRNA display technology to detect target-binding peptides that can redirect natural antibodies. “It’s a very interesting approach and a new use of peptides. Antibodies that everyone has in the body are redirected to a different target,” Dr. Wagner adds.