Peptide Engineering Programme

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The Value of Peptides as a Therapeutic Agent

Challenging therapeutic areas such as the disruption of protein:protein interactions require molecules whose size occupies the space between the small molecule and large complex molecules. Peptide macrocycles potentially allow us to attain the high affinity and specificity found in antibodies and harness these features with the cellular permeability of small molecules. Gaining access to unique and high valued engineered peptide modalities is a major trend in the pharmaceutical industry.


Our Mission

The Peptide Engineering Programme seeks to enable technologies to advance peptide therapeutics, and to nucleate Singapore’s peptide-related research for innovative solutions. This is done through developing novel synthetic chemical methods in unison with peptide display technologies, which harness the diversity inherent in biological systems. This efficiently samples the macrocyclic chemical space in order to discover new pharmacologically attractive compounds.


Services & Capabilities

Track 1 — Diversity Oriented Technologies (DOTs) Impacting Target Diversity

Development of DOTs to increase unique chemical matter diver- sity through the use of biology as a key driver.

  • DNA encoded libraries
  • Phage display technology
  • Yeast display technologies

Track 2 - Fast Synthesis Technologies (FST) Impacting lead optimization and manufacturing

Exploration of new synthesis technologies to enable quick and efficient synthesis of peptides. Our capabilities include micro- wave synthesis, and enzymatic synthesis of long peptides.

Associated services include:

  • Incorporation of a-methylation and other unnatural amino acids
  • Enzymatic synthesis processs
  • Peptide design and evaluation (linear and macrocycles)
    • Peptoids, isoacyl / stapled / stitched peptides
    • Structure stabilisation (a-helix / b sheet)
  • C-terminal substituted amides
  • Analysis of fractions
  • Computational design and in-progress informatics

Track 3 - Formulation and Delivery Technologies (FDT) Impacting Manufacturing and Delivery

Exploration of fundamental biophysical and structure-property- activities of unique formulations for peptides. Assessment of large variety of systems to enable delivery of novel peptide modalities into cells e.g. receptor recognition motifs.

Additional Capabilities

Peptide Conjugation & Targeting

Right Middl

  • Fluorescent labeling
  • Biotinylation
  • Cysteine cross-linkage
  • New conjugation chemistries

 Peptide hit engineering

  • Mini-body development
  • Affinity maturation
  • Scaffold grafting approaches

 Strategically focused research

  • Novel peptidomimetics
  • Stereoselectivity
  • Stereoconvergency
  • C-terminal modifications

Biological target interrogation / validation assays

Toxicity and specificity screening

Computational chemistry, rational design, and SAR analysis


The programme team consists of top-notch scientists from the p53Lab, ICES (Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences) and Bioinformatics Institute (BII), A*STAR

Principal Investigator      Charles William JOHANNES (p53Lab)
Team Leader                   Christopher BROWN (p53Lab)
Team Leader                   YUEN Tsz Ying (ICES)
Team Leader                    Chandra VERMA (BII)
Collaborator                     Prof. Sir David LANE (p53Lab)

Research Scientists

Fernando FERRER, Yuri FROSI, Shimin JIANG, Daniel LUKAMTO, Shilpa YADDAHALLI, Srinivasaraghavan KANNAN, Aronica PIETRO

Research Officers & Engineers

KOH Li Quan, Siti Radhiah RAMLAN, LIEW Xi, Jing Yong NEO, Athur LIT, Yi Wee LIM

Funding Support

The PEP is supported by a Health & Biomedical Sciences domain Industry Alignment Fund-Prepositioning fund (A*STAR, EDB, NRF)

Programme Highlights

  • Library generation and screening against novel targets
  • Hit-to-lead oncology project targeting two protein: protein interactions.