Two UK companies have joined forces to tackle the fast-growing contract synthesis market for peptide and protein drugs.
Activotec, a company providing enabling synthesis instrumentation and chemicals, has merged with Southampton Polypeptides, a spinout from the University of Southampton, to pool their resources in peptide and protein synthesis. The joint company will be known as Activotec .
Activotec will continue to supply synthesisers for peptide and organic chemistry, as well as amino acids, resins and reagents. It will also expand its custom peptide synthesis operation from its laboratories in Southampton, and continue to work on combinatorial chemistry and catalyst research.
The merger will alow the company to develop new peptide, protein and peptidomimetic drugs with improved protease stability, which will extend their half-life in the body and should improve the ease of administration and dosing frequency. The company said that lead compounds in this effort are already being co-developed with pharmaceutical company partners.
Frost & Sullivan notes that the global therapeutic peptides market is currently valued at around $1 billion (€756m), with Europe contributing about $300m of that total, and will at around 10.5 per cent a year between 2003 and 2010. This means that the European market for peptides will double in size by 2010 to $605m.
Peptide production and research and development will operate out of Southampton with sales, marketing and technical support located near Cambridge.
Dr Ram Sharma is the scientific founder of the company, while Dr Peter Laing is the company chairman and Chris Littlewood is serving as chief executive.