Trends in peptide drug discovery

Publication Name

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery


Since the introduction of insulin almost a century ago, more than 80 peptide drugs have reached the market for a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, HIV infection and chronic pain. In this Perspective, we summarize key trends in peptide drug discovery and development, covering the early efforts focused on human hormones, elegant medicinal chemistry and rational design strategies, peptide drugs derived from nature, and major breakthroughs in molecular biology and peptide chemistry that continue to advance the field. We emphasize lessons from earlier approaches that are still relevant today as well as emerging strategies such as integrated venomics and peptide-display libraries that create new avenues for peptide drug discovery. We also discuss the pharmaceutical landscape in which peptide drugs could be particularly valuable and analyse the challenges that need to be addressed for them to reach their full potential.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Horizon 2020 Framework Programme



Link to publisher version (DOI)