Peptides skincare

ReadingUniversity’s Professor Laurence Harwood has been awarded £63,000 to develop a method for the synthesis of peptides, which are molecules that are increasingly used to treat serious diseases like HIV. They can also be used in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in products like moisturisers and cosmetics.

Prof Harwood from the School of Chemistry, Food & Pharmacy has received a Proof of Concept award from the CommercialiSE fund, a programme that aims to link university knowledge with business expertise in the south east.

The technology works by forming chains with a nitrogen molecule at one end (the nitrogen terminus) and an acid molecule at the other (the acid terminus). This methodology opens the door to a new type of peptide synthesis in which multiple peptide chains can be brought together to make a long chain without loss of yield of the pure form. It also enables much more efficient manufacture of circular peptide chains (cyclic peptides).

The new method should increase yield, efficiency and flexibility in peptide manufacturing, and will help to produce new peptide-based pharmaceutical drugs.

Prof Harwood said: ‘So far we have proof of concept in solution but, to be of real interest, we need to demonstrate its effectiveness in the conditions that would be used in a manufacturing environment.’