Marching into the Clinic
Pioneers in the field have different opinions about what has impeded therapeutic development. “Peptides come in and out of favor about every 10 years,” Richard Houghten, founder and president of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, told GEN.
In general it seems that optimism trumps disappointment. To date, 54 therapeutic peptides have been marketed worldwide, with 26 of these in the U.S., according to the Peptide Therapeutics Foundation. And four U.S.-approved peptides reached over $1 billion in global sales.
Dr. Houghten also noted that once peptides make it to the clinic, they enjoy a higher rate of success than small molecule drugs. And it looks like the every ten years has come around again. According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development 2010 report on the state of the therapeutic peptide field, the number of new peptides entering clinical testing doubled in the past decade.
The Tufts Center found that of the 334 peptides known to have undergone some clinical testing by commercial firms, half entered the clinic in the last decade. There has been an average of about 17 new clinical candidates in each of the last 10 years compared to fewer than 10 in the decade before that and under five in the 1980s.