Stabilized helical peptides: overview of the technologies and its impact on drug discovery

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Introduction: Protein-protein interactions are predominant in the workings of all cells. Until now, there have been a few successes in targeting protein-protein interactions with small molecules. Peptides may overcome some of the challenges of small molecules in disrupting protein-protein interactions. However, peptides present a new set of challenges in drug discovery. Thus, the study of the stabilization of helical peptides has been extensive. Areas covered: Several technological approaches to helical peptide stabilization have been studied. In this review, stapled peptides, foldamers, and hydrogen bond surrogates are discussed. Issues regarding design principles are also discussed. Furthermore, this review introduces select computational techniques used to aid peptide design and discusses clinical trials of peptides in a more advanced stage of development. Expert opinion: Stabilized helical peptides hold great promise in a wide array of diseases. However, the field is still relatively new and new design principles are emerging. The possibilities of peptide modification are quite extensive and expanding, so the design of stabilized peptides requires great attention to detail in order to avoid a large number of failed lead peptides. The start of clinical trials with stapled peptides is a promising sign for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1125
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M Klein is funded by the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System and this work was supported by Department of Defense (via the Peer-Reviewed Cancer Career Development Award W81XWH-13-1-0372 (CA120102))

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Alpha helix
  • beta-peptides
  • drug discovery
  • foldamers
  • hydrogen bond surrogate
  • molecular dynamics
  • protein-protein interactions
  • stapled peptides


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