Helix BioMedix, Inc. has created an extensive proprietary
library of bioactive peptides based upon the diversity of structure,
origin and activity of this class of innate immunity element.
Helix BioMedix, Inc. is has an extensive library of diverse
bioactive peptides and patents covering six distinct classes and hundreds
of thousands of peptide sequences…click to learn more.
Helix BioMedix is open to in-licensing proposals that
are in alignment with the company's overall therapeutic focus in dermatology,
anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal disorders and MRSA related concerns…click
to learn more.
Read about the latest in Helix BioMedix technology…click
to learn more.
BioMedix is committed to developing a concise range of peptides for the
dermatology market. The topical application of bioactive peptides tailored
to address specific skin conditions and diseases and has allowed the exploitation
of the advantages of this class of molecule while eliminating the disadvantages
of peptide therapeutics. Issues of peptide size, stability, toxicity, cost
and unwanted activities have been resolved in the generation of a range
of small, safe, deliverable peptides with specific demonstrable activity.
The Helix scientific team works with an array
of academic experts to advance our leading research and development programs.
These include researchers at:
National Institutes of Health
University of Central Florida
University of Virginia
Michigan State University
Ohio State University
University of Washington
University of British Columbia
The majority of all natural processes within the human body are signaled
or modulated almost exclusively by the interaction of specific amino
acid sequences, either as peptides or as fragments of proteins. When
such sequences are isolated they can exhibit high potency and high selectivity
for their target together with an almost unlimited toolbox for analog
creation capable of addressing issues such as solubility, toxicity, specificity,
formulation and cost. There is therefore significant potential for the
creation of clinically meaningful therapeutics from this class of molecule
and it is a field, traditionally restricted to oncology, that has recently
expanded into the cardiovascular, infectious disease and metabolic disease
Innate Immunity Peptides
Exposed surfaces of the human body (skin, eyes, nose, airways and digestive
tract) are protected against potential microbial pathogens by the innate
immune system. As opposed to adaptive immunity (antibodies and antigen-recognizing
cytotoxic lymphocytes), which may take days or weeks to generate a specific
response to potential infection, innate immunity is a rapid first line
of defense. Antimicrobial substances including chemically reactive
molecules, lytic enzymes and peptides form the core of a system which combines
low level constant expression with large scale induction upon injury or
Biologists have discovered many different classes of natural host-defense
peptides. Although these molecules possess a diverse array of structures,
their physicochemical properties are similar. All are amphiphilic, meaning
they have a combination of positively electrically charged properties,
and hydrophobic (water-hating, fat-loving) chemical properties. This amphiphilic
structure is believed to be responsible for host defense peptides’ antimicrobial
activity and their unique abilities to directly disrupt bacterial cell
membranes. Among the most common and well-studied antimicrobial peptides
are the cathelicidins and defensins, found in humans, the magainins, found
in frogs, and the cecropins and melitins, found in insects.
Peptides and Dermatology
Our skin is constantly challenged by microbes but is rarely infected. Cutaneous
production of antimicrobial peptides is a primary system for protection,
and expression further increases in response to microbial invasion. Cathelicidins
such as LL-37 are unique antimicrobial peptides that protect the skin through
two distinct pathways: (1) direct antimicrobial activity and (2) initiation
of a host response resulting in cytokine release, inflammation, angiogenesis,
and reepithelialization. The discovery of this secondary, modulatory, function
has transformed our thinking of what was purely an antimicrobial peptide
into a multifunctional innate immunity modulator. Of note is that LL-37
is induced in keratinocytes upon wounding and in sebocytes upon P.acnes proliferation.
In addition, LL-37 dysfunction has a possible role in the pathogenesis
of several cutaneous diseases, including atopic dermatitis, in which the
peptide is suppressed; rosacea, in which LL-37 is abnormally processed
to forms that induce inflammation; and psoriasis, in which the peptide
converts self-DNA to a potent stimulus in an autoinflammatory cascade.