Our company's innovation comes from its unique position at the intersection of nature and technology, where we solve the problem of translating natural discoveries into medicine. PEEL develops and acquires evolution-based drugs that use nanotechnology and other advanced delivery systems to treat and prevent disease.
Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have used the ingredients found in nature to provide cures for our ailments. The tools at our disposal today, from genetic analysis to cutting-edge nanotechnologies, have allowed PEEL scientists to continue to discover and apply nature's solutions to health and human diseases. Comparative biology, the study of one species to learn about the biological systems of another, has become a powerful tool to understand why humans develop diseases and learn about ways that other species avoid them.
At PEEL Therapeutics, rather than reinventing the "biological wheel," we apply millions of years in Research & Development that nature invested in elegant and evolutionary solutions to disease. PEEL's team of scientists and innovators pick up where nature left off and merge these solutions with advanced technology to develop new medicines for human patients. The PEEL team remains focused on achieving the milestones necessary to bring the existing assets to market, while evolution provides a continuous source of opportunities for future development.
PEEL Therapeutics is developing a Neutrophil Targeting Peptide (NTP) as a potential treatment for a wide range of both acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, including COVID-19. NTPs evolved as a natural anti-inflammatory that is only expressed during the first few days of life to avoid an overwhelming immune response as newborns adapt to their new, microbial-rich environment.
NTPs inhibit the deregulated immune response of neutrophils that can lead to organ and vascular damage in many human diseases such as sepsis, ARDS, stroke, thrombosis, asthma, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. PEEL is now exploring NTPs role in COVID-19, with promising early results. NTPs have demonstrated strong efficacy in multiple preclinical models of inflammatory diseases, in many instances increasing survival in mice with sepsis from 0% to over 70% overall survival.
Inflammation & Death in COVID-19
Recent scientific studies tell us that COVID-19 patients are dying from complications of sepsis and acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). The majority of these deaths are due to multi-organ failure caused by infiltration of neutrophil's and the body’s uncontrolled immune response to the viral infection. PEEL’s NTP treatment targets the innate immune system which could specifically inhibit the inflammation induced organ and tissue damage in response to Coronavirus. With this in mind, we are racing to translate this peptide from its newborn origins into a therapeutic that could benefit the sickest patients in need from the current COVID-19 global pandemic.
J Exp Med. 2020
© 2020 Rockefeller University Press
Cancer Resistance In Elephants
In 2015, PEEL co-founder Dr. Joshua Schiffman and his collaborators published an article in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that demonstrated elephants have <5% lifetime risk of cancer. They went on to show that this natural cancer resistance in elephants is most likely due to their 40 copies of the tumor suppressor gene: TP53 (humans only have 2 copies). This same gene, known as the "Guardian of the Genome" is inactivated in over half of all human cancers, regardless of cancer type. It also plays an essential role in removing DNA damage from healthy cells to prevent tumor development. Elephant TP53 (EP53) with its extra copies works even better than human TP53 in triggering cell death - making it the ideal candidate for both cancer therapy and prevention.
A tumor suppressor gene, TP53 is the police officer of the cellular world. If a cell with faulty DNA is replicating, it can arrest the process and allow it to move forward only once the DNA is fixed. Or it can shoot to kill, getting rid of the cell with bad DNA.
Nanoparticle Delivery System
Since 1995, nanoparticles have been used to more effectively deliver cancer medicines. PEEL co-founder Dr. Avi Schroeder is an internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology. PEEL's earliest EP53 drug system used to deliver the EP53 payload directly to tumor cells was built on Dr. Schroeder's original nanoparticle drug delivery methods. Each nanoparticle is 1/1000th the size of a single human hair, but despite the small size, the ability of PEEL's nanoparticles to be taken up so effectively by tumors allows us to deliver much more potent doses of our payload with the hope of lessening side effects.
Red circles = PEEL's proprietary nanoparticles delivered to Human Osteosarcoma cells in vitro
Small Molecule Nanoparticle
Building on the discovery of pediatric oncology scientists at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), PEEL is working on a potent small molecule therapy that originates from a plant leaf toxin. In its natural form, this compound is not a good drug candidate for a number of reasons especially related to toxicity. However, using PEEL and collaborator nanotechnology expertise, we have harnessed its therapeutic properties to create a potent new candidate for many types of cancer that have not had new therapeutics approved in several decades. In repeated preclinical tests, this plant leaf-derived small molecule leads to sustained cures in the most aggressive childhood solid tumors in mice with overall survival rates of 70-100% lasting more than 6 months. This program has recently started IND-enabling studies to prove that it will be safe to test in humans. We expect to begin first-in-human trials within the next 1-2 years.