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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

At the recent “Fall 2010 National Meeting & Exposition” of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston, scientists reported on a new family of potential drugs that are capable of blocking a key protein that’s involved in the development of cancer. Called stapled peptides, the substances get their name from chemical braces that hold the peptides in a compact shape, which gives them high stability in comparison to their unfolded versions.

The 3-D shape is critical for the peptide to function normally and help orchestrate biological processes. The chemical stapling allows them to resist destruction by enzymes, easily penetrate cells, and bind to biochemical machinery within cells.

Further demonstrating the promise of stapled peptides and during the same week as the ACS conference, Roche signed a collaboration agreement worth up to $1.1 billion with Aileron Therapeutics for the discovery, development, and commercialization of these novel therapeutics.

During this week’s podcast Dr. Gregory Verdine, one of the world’s experts on stapled peptides, discusses their discovery, the range of areas for medical applications, and future research strategies.

Greg Verdine is the Director of the Program in Cancer Chemical Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is the Erving Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University.  He holds academic appointments at Harvard in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB, primary), Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB, voting), and Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB, affiliate).  His Dana-Farber research effort aims to discover entirely new molecular classes of drugs to tackle so-called “undruggable” targets, while his work in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences focuses on understanding fundamental aspects of DNA damage recognition and repair.  Verdine is a Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures and a Senior Advisor to the Texas Pacific Group, and has founded or co-founded a number of drug discovery companies including Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, Aileron Therapeutics, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Ontorii Inc., Eleven Biotherapeutics, and Warp Drive Biosynthetics.

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Posted 09/25/2012 by bala mani

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