A number of successful drugs are natural products or derivatives of natural products. In contrast to synthetic compounds, natural products are not generated by chemical synthesis but instead isolated from microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. The cyclic peptides constitute an important group of natural product compounds. Drugs such as penicillin, vancomycin, daptomycin, the echinocandins, cyclosporin, and bleomycin all belong to this group and their successes on the market demonstrate that these compounds can be antibiotics and antifungals, as well as immunosuppressive and even cancer drugs.
AureoGenís mission is to utilize state-of-the-art chemistry and genetic engineering methodologies to generate novel drug candidates from existing cyclic peptide templates.
AureoGen Biosciences was incorporated on August 12, 2003. The companyís business is focused on the development of novel chemistry and molecular biology methodologies for the modification of cyclic peptide-based compounds. Historically, structural modifications required to convert a native cyclic peptide into a functional drug often involved complicated and expensive synthetic chemistry approaches. This hampered the development of many promising drug candidates. It also prevented optimization (such as reduction of side effects) of many existing drugs. AureoGen is developing novel chemistry approaches that allow efficient, cost-effective modification, optimization, and production of cyclic peptide compounds. Recent advances in medicinal chemistry now allow many modifications (to large cyclic peptides) to be introduced directly, without the previous need for multiple synthesis steps, disassembly of the core ring structure, and re-synthesis of large portions of the molecule. Similarly, advances in biology and genetics have produced tools and knowledge that allow efficient structural modification of cyclic peptides by (genetic) engineering of the non-ribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) complexes responsible for their synthesis in the producer organisms. Thus, using state-of-the-art chemical or genetic engineering methodologies, AureoGen is producing novel cyclic peptide-based drug candidates that are new chemical entities (NCEs) and that have improved pharmacological properties. AureoGenís methodologies allow for the efficient and cost-effective in-depth exploration of the pharmacological properties (structure activity relationships, SAR) of virtually any cyclic peptide, as well as simple and economical generation of entirely novel cyclic peptides.