Synthetic therapeutic peptides: science and market

Drug Discov Today. 2010 Jan;15(1-2):40-56. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2009.10.009. Epub 2009 Oct 30.


The decreasing number of approved drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry, which has been accompanied by increasing expenses for R&D, demands alternative approaches to increase pharmaceutical R&D productivity. This situation has contributed to a revival of interest in peptides as potential drug candidates. New synthetic strategies for limiting metabolism and alternative routes of administration have emerged in recent years and resulted in a large number of peptide-based drugs that are now being marketed. This review reports on the unexpected and considerable number of peptides that are currently available as drugs and the chemical strategies that were used to bring them into the market. As demonstrated here, peptide-based drug discovery could be a serious option for addressing new therapeutic challenges.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Drug Industry / economics*
  • Drug Industry / methods
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Peptides* / chemical synthesis
  • Peptides* / pharmacokinetics
  • Peptides* / therapeutic use


  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Peptides
  • Peptide Hydrolases