In 1902, two British physiologists Bayliss and Starling discovered a peptide substance in the gastrointestinal tract of animals that can cause pancreatic secretion and named it secretin. Secretin, a basic bioactive peptide consisting of 27 amino acids, is the first hormone discovered in human history. So far, tens of thousands of bioactive peptides have been found in living organisms.

In 1953, the scientist Vincent Du Vigneaud and his team synthesized synthetic oxytocin that can be used to accelerate and shorten labor, becoming the first to achieve the synthesis of a protein hormone. In 1955, Vigneaud was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Oxytocin is the first biologically active peptide to be sequenced and synthesized.

In 1963, R.B.Merrifield established a solid-phase synthesis method in which the C-terminus of amino acid was fixed on an insoluble resin, and then the amino acid was condensed, the peptide chain was extended, and the protein was synthesized in this resin. In the solid-phase method, the resin needs to be simply washed after each step to achieve the purpose of purification, which overcomes the difficulty of purifying each step in the classical liquid-phase synthesis method and lays the foundation for automated peptide synthesis. For this, Merrifield won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1984.

In 1965, scientists in China completed the synthesis of crystalline bovine insulin, which is the world's first total synthesis of proteins. This achievement has promoted the development of life sciences and opened up the era of artificially synthesized proteins. The completion of this work has greatly promoted research in protein and peptide synthesis. Due to the important role of proteins in life phenomena, artificially synthesizing the first active protein has extremely far-reaching significance, and has taken an important step in the long process of human understanding of life phenomena.

With the advancement of modern biotechnology, especially the introduction of genetic engineering technology, people can synthesize more peptides in a short period of time, making large-scale production of peptide drugs or GMP grade peptide synthesis possible. In recent years, the annual growth rate of the peptide drug market has reached 20%, far exceeding the 9% annual growth rate of the overall pharmaceutical market, which has brought huge profits to pharmaceutical companies. Peptide drugs are widely used in the treatment of various human diseases such as asthma, allergies, pain, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, and AIDS. Peptide drugs can be roughly categorized into 7 major classes: peptide vaccines, antitumor peptides, peptide-directed drugs, cytokine mimetic peptides, antimicrobial peptides, diagnostic polypeptides, and other medicinal small peptides.

So far, more than 70 peptide drugs have been approved for marketing internationally, including insulin for diabetes, thyroid-stimulating hormone for the treatment of neurological diseases (dementia, etc.) and thyroid disorders, progesterone-releasing hormone for treating prostate cancer and tumors of the reproductive system, adrenocorticotropic hormone for rheumatoid arthritis, oxytocin for obstetrics, desmopressin for diabetes insipidus, arginine vasopressin for hypertension, somatostatin for the treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding, human growth hormone for the treatment of senile diseases and dwarfism, chorionic gonadotropin for gynecology and obstetrics, human menopause gonadotropin and prolactin, adrenocortical hormone releasing factor, glucagon for the treatment of hypoglycemia, calcitonin to promote calcium production, natriuretic hormone for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, etc. More than 100 peptide drugs have entered clinical trials, and more than 400 peptide drugs are in the preclinical stage. Of the 128 candidate peptide drugs undergoing clinical trials, 40 have entered Phase I clinical trials, 74 have entered Phase I/II clinical trials and 14 have entered Phase II/III or Phase III clinical trials. Peptide drugs in the research phase dominate the field of metabolic diseases and tumor treatment.

In the global peptide drug market, the United States is the most important market, with more than 60% market share. Europe has about 30% market share, while Asia and elsewhere enjoy about 10% market share. Due to the large investment in drug research and development and the long cycle, there is an increasing interest in the development of peptide health products or functional foods in various countries across the globe, especially in Europe, America and Japan.

Author's Bio: 

Creative Peptides supplies various research peptides and related peptide synthesis, modification and analysis services.