Looking ahead with PepSee

Zealand, BioSolveIT unveil software tool for therapeutic peptide research and development

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark & SANKT AUGUSTIN, Germany—A European team-up between Zealand Pharma A/S and BioSolveIT has resulted in the creation of a novel, unique software tool designed to enhance and advance the design, research and development of therapeutic peptides. By combining Zealand’s experience in peptide design and BioSolveIT’s chemical informatics software capabilities, the companies have produced PepSee. With regard to PepSee, BioSolveIT will own the software while Zealand will hold a free user license for its application and integration into Zealand’s design skills and peptide knowledge database.
The first version of PepSee has been launched at Zealand, and completion of a second version is expected within 18 months. The goal is for this tool to combine visual computational peptide modeling, design and modality prediction capabilities with biological and physio-chemical data to support faster and more advanced therapeutic peptide research and development.
“PepSee is a perfect example of BioSolveIT’s core expertise: creating fast, visual and user-friendly software tools which have the potential to deliver rapid improvements to scientific innovation,” Dr. Marcus Gastreich, director of application science at BioSolveIT, said in a press release. “We are delighted that Zealand, with its world-recognized excellence in therapeutic peptide research and design, has chosen to work with us to shape the most relevant tool possible. We believe that this tool will add new dimensions to advanced peptide design.”
Peptides, chains of amino acids, play a variety of essential roles in numerous physiological processes. Medicinal peptide research uses pattern recognition and structural optimization of peptides to aid in the design of novel compounds with promising properties for therapeutic use. Despite the promise of this branch of research, however, software support for the field is limited.
“We are delighted to work with BioSolveIT on this unique project. It is part of our strategy to continuously expand Zealand’s peptide competencies, and the first version of PepSee has already demonstrated its potential to support innovation and enhance our efficiency in the design of novel peptide therapeutics. More importantly, as more features are added, we will push further the boundaries of peptide discovery and development. BioSolveIT has a strong reputation for innovation, usability, and quality of service and we look forward to finalizing the development of this unique peptide research software tool,” Britt Meelby Jensen, president and CEO at Zealand, commented in a statement.
In other recent product news from BioSolveIT, the company has announced that SeeSAR 4.2 for SAR and lead optimization is now available. This software tool offers “interactive, visual compound prioritization as well as compound evolution. Structure-based design work ideally supports a multi-parameter optimization to maximize the likelihood of success, rather than affinity alone. Having the relevant parameters at hand in combination with real-time visual computer assistance in 3D is one of the strengths of SeeSAR,” BioSolveIT notes on its website.
The new release offers a variety of features, including updated covalent binder handling, in which ligands are not static but optimized in the HYDE Visual Affinities framework; the ability to process protein-ligand PDB files automatically, with ligands carved out and assessed with HYDE; augmented platform support with an MS Windows 64bit version; control over when HYDE Affinities are computed; and enhanced filtering as well as more space for loading in SD properties.
Zealand Pharma posted its full year 2015 financial results mid-March, reporting a fourth quarter with revenue of €22 million and a net result of €9 million. For the full year 2015, the company’s net result was a loss of €15 million, compared to a loss of €9 million for full year 2014, and revenues of €25 million, compared to €21 million in 2014.
“2015 was one of the best years in the history of Zealand. Financial results were as expected with considerable financing from milestone payments, and our business and portfolio have substantially progressed. Under our agreement with Sanofi, both lixisenatide and LixiLan have been filed for approvals in the U.S. with regulatory decisions expected in July and August, respectively … We have also advanced and expanded our own proprietary pipeline, including the initiation of Phase 2a trials with two new lead drug candidates, a glucagon analogue for hypoglycemia and a GLP-2 analogue for short bowel syndrome,” said Britt Meelby Jensen, president and CEO of Zealand.

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