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KDDF-201404-07 Development of Anti-HIV peptides against Tat-TAR interaction(Infectious Diseases, Protein) [08.05.2014]


Development and Market Objectives

One of our research teams has discovered an active material against HIV-1 virus with a novel mechanism of action, by screening a self-synthesized peptide library. This peptide has been found to suppress the Tat-TAR interaction in nanomolar concentration of which has not been previously described previously. Our candidate is potentially the first new therapeutic againt the target.

Unmet Medical Need & Target Patients

HIV-1 is one of the most common viruses that has spread worldwide, and according to 2012 statistics, more than 35.3 million people are infected. Approximately 1.8 million patients died from AIDS-related complications in 2010, and although this number has decreased from 2.2 million in 2005, it is still regarded as a global pandemic viral disease.
Since its first recognition in 1981, AIDS has taken more than 30 million lives (2009 estimate). Although the mortality rate is rapidly decreasing in some areas where medical facilities and medicine is available, there remain many people infected by the virus across the globe.
New medicines for HIV virus targets, such as Stribild (elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) which was approved by the FDA as a new HIV medicine in 2012, are being developed, targeting active virus with cocktail therapy using combinations of new medicines (known as highly active anti-retroviral treatment; HAART).
HIV-1 virus encodes a trans-activating regulatory protein (Tat), which is essential for increased transcription of all HIV genes to cause explosive viral generation. However there is also a high possibility that the virus can become active again after an incubation period. The mechanism of virus reactivation after the incubation period is due to a viral protein called Tat, which activates viral transcription. The Tat protein plays the role of a molecular switch that shifts between the latent period and the active period. Subsequently, the Tat protein is essential for active viral replication and absolutely critical while the incubation period is transitioning to the active period. Tat therefore represents a promising HIV target for both acute and chronic conditions.
Of particular note, the transcription process initiated by this protein involves multiple viral proteins and transcription factors from the host cell. It is expected that the possibility of virus appearance with resistance to the drug that can suppress this process is very low. From this perspective, targeting Tat is expected to have a unique effect and our HIV-1 candidate that is being developed will be applicable for acute cases, carriers or patients who are suspected to be carriers and chronic stages as well.


We are currently in the stage of discovery and optimization of active ingredients. Ongoing efforts are focused on establishing a peptide library that can suppress Tat-TAR interaction and verification of activity. At the same time, we are progressing with peptide modification to increase cell permeability and stability.

Intellectual Property

* Patent Application Date: Oct. 2013
* Trustee: Seoul National University. University-Industry Cooperation
* Patent Application No: 10-2013-0123709
Patent Title: The production method of cytopermeability peptide by using disulfide composition and its usage.
* Inventor: Jaehoon Yu and others.

Competitive Advantages

Clear differentiation against competitors for licensing-out
The active peptide obtained can be used during both active and incubation periods of the HIV virus and inhibits viral replication with a new mechanism of action.
No mutation of Tat-TAR has yet been identified and the possibility of viral drug resistance is expected to be low.


Infection (HIV)

Research Period

Jul. 01, 2014 - Dec. 31, 2015


Seoul National University

Developmental Stage

Lead Generation

Additional Information

Contact Information

Address Company Name: Seoul National University, Department of Chemistry & Education & Seoul National University
WebSite Homepage: Contact Person: Jaehoon Yu & Yan Lee
E-mail:, Contact: +82-2880-7761

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