Over the past few years, protein-based therapeutics, including peptides, hormones, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, blood factors and therapeutic enzymes, have gained a lot of attention from clinical researchers engaged in the field of drug development. The success of these therapeutics can be attributed to the various clinical benefits offered by such products, such as high target specificity, low toxicity and favorable safety profiles. It is worth mentioning that, at present, the protein / peptide therapeutic pipeline features over 345 product candidates, which are being evaluated across more than 1,500 clinical trials worldwide. Further, over 55 such therapies have already been marketed to treat multiple therapeutic indications. However, developing a protein based therapeutic is often fraught with several challenges, such as short half-life and poor chemical and physical stability. To overcome the aforementioned challenges as well as enable the development of therapeutic proteins with improved characteristics, researchers have identified various protein design and engineering techniques. Engineering a protein is a complex multistep process which requires high-throughput techniques and screening procedures. Additionally, it is a time and cost intensive process. Therefore, innovators in the pharmaceutical industry are constantly identifying / developing ways to improve the process of protein engineering.
Amidst other alternatives, outsourcing protein design and engineering process to a specialized service provider, having the required capability, has emerged as a viable option for various protein / peptide therapeutic developers. Presently, over 85 protein design / protein engineering service providers, along with technology providers, are actively supporting the development of novel protein / peptide therapeutics.