Introduction to TargoPep

Welcome to TargoPep! Thank you for your interest in our technology and the company.

The targeted, safe and effective delivery of advanced nucleic acid therapeutics has proven to be a significant block in the clinical application of transformative therapies. Many candidates have progressed into clinical evaluation, however frustratingly few so far have made it into approved clinical use. TargoPep is working to address this challenge by providing unique delivery solutions based on advanced delivery peptide (ADP) technologies. TargoPep ADPs utilise tuned, bespoke structures to address the fundamental problem of inadequate cellular recognition and penetration to complete and enable the next generation of gene therapies.

TargoPep’s ambition is to enable the effective delivery of transformative next-generation gene therapies through bespoke, advanced delivery peptide technologies.

TargoPep is a pre-spin out company registered in Q4 2021. Being pre-spun out, TargoPep is currently still operating within the University of Strathclyde and building its portfolio and resources to function independently. Specifically, TargoPep’s beginnings evolved from a project originally sponsored by a GSK PhD studentship and led by Prof. Glenn Burley and his lab team.

Building on those initial successes, Prof. Burley brought together Prof. Simon Mackay and Dr. Fergus McWhinnie to apply their breadth of capabilities in biological and medicinal chemistry and peptide and protein sciences to design, build and investigate the potential of novel amino acid structures in short peptides to act as predictable, safe and specific transporters of therapeutic payloads into cells.

The IP was secured and protected by the University of Strathclyde and as the work advanced the focus narrowed, driven by the attributes of the platform and the perceived need in the field of drug delivery.

TargoPep’s ongoing research is funded by the BBSRC Follow-on Funding programme, as well as support from the EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account and Scottish Enterprise. The work currently underway is focused on characterising and evaluating the key components of the ADP platform: safety, intra-cellular access, conjugation, payload delivery in relevant assays. Evidence of the effectiveness of our platform is being accumulated for now as a single agent and in the future in combination with lipid nanoparticle (LNP) structures.

TargoPep will partner with biopharmaceutical clients to provide unique solutions to their complex delivery challenges, to produce blockbusting gene therapeutics that offer the promise of lasting cure over disease management. 

TargoPep is working to provide adaptive solutions which will dramatically enhance therapeutic effectiveness and safety, improve patients’ outcomes and reduce industry outlay in research and development costs and risk. This is greatly enhanced by the teams unique perspective, bringing together multiple disciplines of chemistry, pharmacy, biology and formulation to solve the multifactorial problems with drug delivery.

Existing delivery technologies, in particular nanoparticle/liposome-based strategies, viral vectors (AAVs) and antibody drug conjugates have enabled some gene therapies to progress further towards the clinic. However, they all suffer from significant drawbacks in their effectiveness as carriers of therapeutic payload, their lack of targeted delivery and their potential toxicities. The market is looking for more effective, ‘tunable’ and safer options to enable the next wave of therapeutics to reach the clinic and change patients lives. TargoPep will provide those options by its tight collaboration with current R&D pipelines, catapulting new therapies towards effective clinical applications.

Ken Fyvie, January 2024.