Peptides - "small proteins" of up to 100 amino acids - are omnipresent for us humans. In the form of hormones or signal substances, they control a multitude of physiological processes. For this reason, synthetically produced peptides are attractive substances in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics or food industries. They are already being used today to combat diabetes and cancer, for example. However, the chemical production of peptides, in particular the purification step, is time-consuming and expensive. Many peptide substances are therefore never used.
The Belyntic (formerly EnviroPep) start-up project, which has been funded with an EXIST research transfer grant since September 2016, has developed a completely new method that overcomes the hurdles in peptide purification. The patent-pending technology can be described with the term "catch and release", which is well known from angling. A chemical capture molecule docks exclusively to the target peptide, while unwanted impurities are washed out. After the final separation of the catcher molecule, only the pure peptide remains.