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.
Helix 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 arenas.

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 microbial invasion.

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.