An interdisciplinary pipeline for progressing cyclic peptides hits to small molecule inhibitors.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Chemistry


Research questions and objectives:
Peptide macrocycle hits can be readily generated against a given target via a variety of methods, however, progressing these molecules to drug-like entities has proven extremely challenging. Our key objective in this project is to convert a cyclic peptide protein-protein interaction inhibitor from hit to lead.

The approach:
We will use a combination of chemical biology and computational chemistry to determine the binding site of the cyclic peptide hit on its target protein, and develop more potent small molecules. Our primary aim will be to identify the pharmacophore of the active molecule and use this information to derive small molecule inhibitors. At the same time, we will optimise the activity of the cyclic peptide by incorporating non-natural amino acids and altering the peptide backbone.

Novel physical sciences content:
Meeting the above objectives will require the development of an interdisciplinary pipeline of tools the crosses the boundaries of computation chemistry and chemical biology. This includes developing new approaches to simulating cyclic peptides, gaining a better understanding of the interaction of cyclic peptides with their targets and developing synthetic chemistry approaches for the synthesis of the target molecules.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2099972 Studentship EP/N509747/1 26/09/2018 01/02/2022 James Craswell
EP/R513325/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2099972 Studentship EP/R513325/1 26/09/2018 01/02/2022 James Craswell