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New FWF Zukunftskolleg focuses on peptide drug candidates


"PeptAIDes" is one out of four recently granted FWF Zukunftskollegs that will be carried out with participation of postdoc researcher Eva-Maria Zangerl-Plessl from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Bioactive peptides are gaining increasing attention as a potential starting point for the development of innovative therapies. A team led by Roland Hellinger (Medical University of Vienna) and with participation of two PostDocs from the University of Vienna, Eva-Maria Zangerl-Plessl of the Faculty of Life Sciences and Kirtikumar B. Jadhav of the Faculty of Chemistry, has now postulated a highly collaborative drug development research platform – PeptAIDes (Peptides for the treatment of Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases) – to transform therapeutic leads into clinical drug candidates.

Within this platform, the principal investigators Eva-Maria Zangerl-Plessl and Kirtikumar B. Jadhav will head the development of orally administered peptides targeting disease relevant gut tachykinin receptors in gastrointestinal diseases (IBD & IBS). At the same time, they will provide strong molecular modelling and specialized peptide synthesis support to other PIs working on multiple sclerosis and fatty liver disease.

PeptAIDes will serve as an innovative hub for the interdisciplinary cooperation on the pre-clinical development of peptide therapeutics. By providing proof of concept for candidates, the team will take the first step in translating academic research to the clinical stage of drug development. The young independent investigator research group consists of Roland Hellinger (Pharmacologist, Medical University of Vienna), Kirtikumar B. Jadhav (Synthetic Chemist, University of Vienna), Eva-Maria Zangerl-Plessl (Computational Chemist, University of Vienna), Dagmar Gotthardt (Immunologist, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna) and Tim Hendrikx (Molecular Biologist, Medical University of Vienna).

Eva-Maria Zangerl-Plessl is one of the investigators of the new FWF-Forschungskolleg PeptAIDes. (c) EM Zangerl-Plessl