An entirely new class of therapies
Based on groundbreaking work conceived in the laboratory of Sir Greg Winter with the help of Professor Christian Heinis, we are pioneering the development of bicyclic peptides, or Bicycles® – a novel class of versatile, chemically synthesized medicines. Bicycles are fully synthetic short peptides constrained to form two loops which stabilize their structural geometry. This constraint is designed to confer high affinity and selectivity, and the relatively large surface area presented by the molecule allows targets to be drugged that have historically been intractable to non-biological approaches. Bicycles represent a unique therapeutic class, combining the pharmacological properties normally associated with a biologic with the manufacturing and pharmacokinetic advantages of a small molecule, yet with no signs of immunogenicity observed to date.
To achieve a therapeutic effect while minimizing undesired effects on other proteins and physiological functions, drugs must bind to target proteins with high affinity and selectivity. We have designed our molecules to be highly constrained by linking a chemical connector compound, also known as a scaffold, to particular amino acids in the peptide chain. The resulting cyclized molecule, which we refer to as a Bicycle, is locked in the preferred state to bind to the target proteins. Their small size and exquisite tumor targeting are designed to deliver rapid tumor penetration and retention, while clearance rates and routes can be tuned to minimize exposure of healthy tissue and bystander toxicities.