Who will make the first shot in the 350 billion antimicrobial peptide market under the rise of peptide drugs?

In the ever-increasing popularity of the pharmaceutical market, peptide drugs have attracted the attention of the industry with their high growth momentum for many years.

According to QY Research statistics: the global peptide drug market scale was approximately US$15.2 billion in 2010, and has exceeded US$43.9 billion by 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.17%, which is approximately twice the overall growth rate of the global drug market. It is expected that the peptide drug market will maintain a compound annual growth rate of 7.9% in the future.

As a drug that has sprung up in the last 30 years, peptide drugs have increasingly become one of the hot spots in global new drug research and development. The indications have been extended to diabetes, osteoporosis, analgesia, vaccines, tumors, anti-heart failure, endocrine disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome. And many other fields, and there are several heavy varieties.

However, it is difficult to see a leader in the anti-infection field of greater commercial value.

Antimicrobial peptides are known as the best alternatives to existing antibiotics. According to a report released by IMS Health, the global antibiotic and vaccine market will exceed 55 billion U.S. dollars (about 354.8 billion yuan) in 2020.

In such a tempting market, who will make the first shot?

The strong rise of peptide drugs

Polypeptide generally refers to a type of single-chain compound formed by dehydration and condensation of 3-50 amino acids. It is between chemical agents and biological products and can be chemically synthesized.

Polypeptide drugs have many advantages-strong druggability, high activity, good specificity, relatively weak toxic reaction, not easy to accumulate, and less drug cross-reaction.

Human exploration of peptide drugs can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1921, a Canadian surgeon named Frederick Grant Banting succeeded in extracting insulin from the dog’s pancreas and injecting it into another dog who suffered from diabetes by removing the pancreas. , The latter is too high blood glucose concentration drops rapidly.

Since then, the curtain of a century of using peptides to treat diseases has been slowly opened.

However, due to technical reasons and limitations such as low oral bioavailability of peptides and low plasma stability, the development of peptide drugs has almost stagnated for decades.

Until the 1980s, the commercial success of human insulin and synthetic gonadotropins produced by recombinant technology proved the feasibility of the peptide drug market and stimulated investment and research enthusiasm in this field.

In the first ten years of the 21st century, there were about 100 peptide drugs entering clinical trials every year, and in the last ten years, more than 400 peptide drugs entered clinical trials every year.

Peptide drugs ushered in an outbreak period.

Data show that as of May 2019, the number of peptide synthesis drugs in the world was 1,153, and there were 198 peptide drugs on the market in 2018. Among them, the anti-tumor field is the most, followed by genitourinary system and sex hormones, cardiovascular system drugs, etc.

Many peptide drugs have become a variety exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars in just one or two years after the market is on the market-Eli Lilly’s Du Yi Da (dulaglutide), which is indicated for diabetes, and has annual sales of 5.068 billion US dollars in 2020. Sales volume ranks first; Novo Nordisk’s two blockbuster products, Semaglutide and Liraglutide (for diabetes and weight loss drugs), have combined sales of approximately US$7.7 billion.

According to data from Evaluate pharma, the market size of orphan diseases/rare diseases, tumors, and diabetes in peptide drugs is more than 3 billion US dollars; there are also some heavy varieties in the digestive tract, orthopedics, immunity, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular fields.

At the same time, research on new peptides and new drugs is still steadily proceeding. At present, there are more than 150 peptides in clinical development, and 400-600 peptides are undergoing preclinical research.

With the increase in investment and research in the peptide field, peptide synthesis technology is becoming more mature, and it is expected that the peptide therapeutic drug market will continue to maintain its growth momentum.

Calling for peptide antibacterial drugs

The peptide market is so prosperous, and even individual tracks are a bit crowded, but in the field of antibacterial, the application of peptides is still close to blank. In terms of anti-infection, polypeptide antibacterial drugs have advantages that traditional antibiotics do not have.

The “target” of traditional antibiotics is a certain enzyme or a certain protein in the metabolic pathway. In fact, bacteria can produce new proteins through genetic mutations to replace the parts inhibited by antibiotics and produce drug resistance.

The development of a new antibiotic drug takes 10-15 years, while the emergence of a drug-resistant bacteria only takes about 2 years. The development of new drugs using the mechanism of antibiotics has been increasingly unable to catch up with the speed of bacterial resistance.

The mechanism of action of peptide antibacterial drugs is completely different. It acts on the phospholipids of the bacterial cell membrane to disintegrate the cell membrane and eventually kill the bacteria.

According to medical observations, phospholipids have never changed in the evolutionary history of bacteria. Therefore, it is difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to polypeptide antibacterial drugs.

This is especially precious at a time when the problem of bacterial resistance has become a major global public health threat.

According to statistics and estimates of the World Health Organization, currently about 700,000 people die from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria each year. If there are no new drugs that can replace existing antibiotics, 10 million people will die of resistant bacteria by 2050. The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as “the biggest challenge facing infectious diseases today.”

This is related to the abuse of antibiotics and bacterial resistance.

The drug resistance effect causes the originally effective antibiotics to become ineffective, and the amount of antibiotics used has become higher and higher, and the excessive use of antibiotics accelerates the resistance of bacteria, making the use of antibiotics enter an endless loop.

On the other hand, the development of new anti-infective drugs is seriously inadequate. More critically, it is necessary to develop new anti-infective drugs with different mechanisms from existing antibiotics to combat the emergence of bacterial resistance.

In the vicious circle, antibiotics are used more and more, giving birth to a huge antibiotic market.

According to a report issued by Allied Market Research, the global oral antibiotic market generated US$18.36 billion in 2019, which is equivalent to 42% of the global peptide drug market.

Therefore, no matter from the consideration of social benefit or economic benefit, blockbuster peptide antibacterial drugs should be “shining on the stage”.

According to statistics from the journal Science in 2020, there are currently about 29 antimicrobial peptide varieties entering clinical trials worldwide, and 2 in China.

In the field of pharmaceutical research and development, the speed to seize the market is as important as the efficacy of the drug. It remains to be seen who will make the “first shot” of antimicrobial peptides in global clinical trials.