Polymer-peptide conjugate with anti-tumor activity

Polymer-peptide conjugate with anti-tumor activity

Technology Description

Crucial to the technology is a hydrolysable link between the peptide (Tyrocidin) and the polymer (poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone)). In its conjugated state, the polymer-peptide construct is amphiphilic and forms micelles, with Tyrocidin in the core and PVP in the corona. At lower pH, which is characteristic for diseased tissue (tumor, infection, etc), hydrolysis of the link between polymer and peptide leads to release of the peptide and restoration of membrane disruptive activity.

Another important aspect of the invention is the presence of targeting ligands on the corona of the micelle, which further enhance the specificity of the system towards a specific disease (prostate cancer, breast cancer, etc, but also malaria and other infections).

Target Industries


Unique Features/Benefits

One of the most important features of this system in comparison to traditional low molar mass drugs is the toxicity after the drug has done its work. Classical antitumor drugs are quite toxic and lead to a variety of well-known side effects of chemotherapy. The active ingredient in our system is a peptide, which will be subject to enzymatic degradation as soon as it is released from the conjugate and even more so after local cell death leads to a natural response to clean up the debris

Innovation Status

Patent Pending


Principal Researchers

Prof Bert Klumperman – Polymer Science

Prof Marina Rautenbach – Biochemistry

Dr Simbarashe Jokonya – Polymer Science


Investment opportunity for further research - commercial potential is excellent

Fund Requirements

Two year post-doc for further synthesis of the conjugates and a comprehensive preclinical efficacy study.

Available for licensing


Marketing Material


Ian van Zyl