Peptide Therapeutics: Why Early Implementation of a Screening Funnel Is Key to Success

Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Drug Discovery & Development,
  • Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The interest in peptide therapeutics has increased considerably in the last decades due to the unique properties of this class of molecules, which are ideal to address challenging drug targets, in particular protein-protein interactions. Research into new peptide therapeutics continues its growth, with more than 150 peptides in clinical development and 400–600 peptides undergoing preclinical studies.

In this webinar, featured speakers will outline how the experience gathered by working on a wide variety of peptide drug discovery programs can guide and inform the early implementation of the optimal screening funnel to develop a safe and effective peptide drug.

They will describe the importance of identifying high-quality hits/leads through phage display libraries and will demonstrate how improved synthetic capabilities allows for the generation of complex molecules with strong potency, long half-life, and high bioavailability. The speakers will also show how the hit to lead process can be accelerated and optimized by the timely identification of potential issues, including metabolic soft spots, pseudo-allergic potential, and aggregation propensity and how incorporating additional tools early on is critical to increasing the efficiency and rate of success of the peptide discovery process.

Register for this webinar for a discussion of the repertoire of assays and tools that the expert speakers commonly adopt to address these specific issues relating to peptide therapeutics discovery.



Silvia Peretti, PhD, Research Investigator, Display Technologies Unit, IRBM SpA

Silvia Peretti received her PhD in Cellular Biotechnology and Hematology from the University of Rome (La Sapienza) conducting her studies in an exchange program at Rockefeller University (New York, USA) on the immunomodulatory effect of HIV/SIV infection. Silvia joined IRBM-Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) as a member of the Oncology department in 2006.

Since 2011, she has been part of the Display Technologies Unit at IRBM SpA, where she has refined her expertise in antibody- and peptide-based phage display libraries to develop novel biologics in the fields of oncology and immunology. She leads different programs from generation and panning of phage libraries to leads characterization and in vivo validation.

Message Presenter

Stefania Colarusso, Senior Research Investigator, IRBM SpA

Stefania Colarusso is a Senior Research Investigator in the Peptide R&D Department at IRBM. After completing her degree in Chemistry at the University of Naples in 1995, she joined the Medicinal Chemistry Team at IRBM-Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Research Laboratories, Rome, where she started her career working on hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitors from peptide leads. She has been involved in several programs in the HCV therapeutic area, actively contributing to the advancement of preclinical compounds and to the development of the clinical candidate MK-3281.

At the beginning of 2009, she joined the Peptide Chemistry Group at IRBM. Following the spin-off from Merck, she contributed, with positions of growing responsibility, to the advancement of peptide therapeutics programs in different areas. Her recent research focuses on the inhibition of protein-protein interactions through the development of macrocyclic peptides deriving from display libraries. Stefania is author of 19 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and co-inventor on 8 patents.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will be of interest to research scientists, including those:

  • Involved in the field of therapeutic peptides
  • With expertise in phage display libraries

What You Will Learn

The attendees of this webinar will:

  • Acquire knowledge of important tools to optimize metabolism and bioavailability, identify pseudo-allergic reactions and immunogenic potential and assess aggregation and oligomerization
  • Learn about identifying peptide leads through phage display libraries
  • Learn how asking specific questions and developing strategies to answer them in a timely manner during the discovery of therapeutic peptides allows the advancement of better candidates with higher probability of success (POS)

Xtalks Partner


IRBM is an innovative contract research organization working across all aspects of drug discovery and early development for different modalities – small molecule, peptide, RNA and antibodies. We foster collaborations with organizations from the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic sectors to accelerate drug discovery from target validation and hit identification to candidate nomination. Our 200 plus-strong, multidisciplinary team works at a state-of-the-art R&D facility near Rome, Italy where projects are carried out “under one roof” enabling rapid cycle times and close integration of the scientific teams. IRBM’s scientists have discovered several drugs that are on the market, and more than 25 molecules have progressed to clinical testing. The company was founded in 2010, as a spin-off from Merck & Co. Now in our 11th year as an independent research organisation, we have laid the foundations to become a global centre for excellence in all aspects of drug discovery and early development.

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