International CRC1279 symposium at Lake Federsee

At the 22nd and 23rd of October over 60 CRC1279 members and several international experts joined the international CRC1279 symposium in Bad Buchau next to the beautiful lake Federsee. The symposium provided an excellent opportunity to present and discuss the scientific progress and to make plans for the future.

Exciting progress was made in many projects and often presented by junior scientists. For example, Prof. Münch (project A06) reported that they were able to increase the activity of the endogenous CXCR4 antagonist EPI-X4 by three orders of magnitude and also to achieve high plasma stability. Ongoing preclinical studies in collaboration with various members of the CRC as well as international groups suggest that the optimized EPI-X4 derivatives hold great promise for the treatment of cancers and inflammatory diseases.

Presentations by members of the Scientific Advisory board also support that peptides can become highly effective and specific drugs. Prof. Urban from the University Clinics in Heidelberg gave an update on Myrcludex B, a 47 amino-acid peptide drug for the treatment of hepatitis B and D. Myrcludex B specifically binds the hepatocyte surface protein NTCP and blocks infection by Hepatitis B and Delta virus. Ongoing clinical trials show that Myrcludex B is safe and effective and might even allow to fully eradicate HDV in some cases. Thus, it has been included in the PRIME program of the European Medicine Agency, which offers support for the development of drugs, which target unmet medical need.  Prof. Thomas Vorherr, Director of Peptide Discovery Unit at Novartis Basel, presented progress in the oral delivery of therapeutic peptides, which is limited by stomach stability, intestinal permeability and liver metabolism. He reported on various peptide modifications allowing to reduce peptide clearance and increase their solubility to promote oral uptake and bioavailability.

Finally, the coffee breaks, dinner and get-together were vividly used for intense discussion and to intensify collaborations or establish new ones. All participants are already looking forward to the next CRC1279 symposium in Bad Schachen at Lake Constance.

Picture 1: Group photo of the participants of the CRC1279 symposium at Lake Federsee