Compugen has developed a computer-based, in silico system which can assist drug delivery research by identifying peptides that have the potential to penetrate cell membranes.
Increased interest in therapeutic peptides and siRNA, which act inside cells, has created a need for delivery techniques that can cross membranes. Compugen’s system gives information on the viability of a peptide as a delivery vehicle or therapeutic by predicting if it can cross membranes.
Validation studies suggest the technology, called intracellular drug delivery (IDD) discovery platform, can successfully predict membrane penetration. Compugen found that in silico results for more than 20 novel peptides were comparable to data from two in-vitro assays.
Anat Cohen-Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen, declined to tell in-PharmaTechnologist how many peptides had been tested in total, explaining that experiments are ongoing.
Cohen-Dayag added that the rate of successful predictions is expected to increase as the platform is refined. Every prediction performed in the in silico system is followed by an experimental analysis. Results are then fed back into the system to improve it ability to predict.
“This is the reason why, almost by definition, as opposed to experimental high throughput discovery approaches, the second, third or fourth round of each of our discovery platforms generally give results with an improved success rate and value”, added Cohen-Dayag.
The peptides that IDD successfully predicted had a range of physico-chemical properties, making them suitable for various applications, according to Compugen.
IDD makes predictions of membrane penetration using machine learning algorithms designed specifically for the system. These are used in conjunction with various components from Compugen’s computational biology infrastructure to deliver data.
Compugen plans to use IDD to create a library of cell penetrating peptides. This portfolio will include peptides with properties specific to certain cargos or tissues.
As well as delivery vehicle peptides Compugen plans to use IDD in conjunction with its other in silico discovery capabilities, notably the DAC Blockers platform, to create dual function peptides capable of penetrating cell membranes and having a therapeutic affect.