Crucial to the technology is a hydrolysable link between the peptide (Tyrocidin) and the polymer (poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone)). In its conjugated state, the polymer-peptide construct is amphiphilic and forms micelles, with Tyrocidin in the core and PVP in the corona. At lower pH, which is characteristic for diseased tissue (tumor, infection, etc), hydrolysis of the link between polymer and peptide leads to release of the peptide and restoration of membrane disruptive activity.
Another important aspect of the invention is the presence of targeting ligands on the corona of the micelle, which further enhance the specificity of the system towards a specific disease (prostate cancer, breast cancer, etc, but also malaria and other infections).
Prof Bert Klumperman – Polymer Science
Prof Marina Rautenbach – Biochemistry
Dr Simbarashe Jokonya – Polymer Science
Investment opportunity for further research - commercial potential is excellent
Two year post-doc for further synthesis of the conjugates and a comprehensive preclinical efficacy study.