Passion for Peptides – The people behind Pepscan

“Solving the puzzle brings me the greatest pleasure”

Jeroen Bouwhuis has been working at Pepscan for almost six years. “I started here as an intern, and over the years I’ve really grown into the company.” Besides being one of the individuals responsible for manufacturing high-quality peptides, Jeroen is part of Pepscan’s Manufacturing, Science and Technology (MS&T) team led by Chief Scientific Officer Peter Timmerman. “What I really like about Pepscan is that we try to serve our clients under almost all circumstances, in other words ‘we rarely say no’. When our sales team receives a request to manufacture a ‘challenging’ peptide, we start to crack our brains on how we can make it work for the client.”

Palmitoylated peptides

One such challenge involved a request to produce so-called ‘Multiple Palmitoylated Peptides (MPPs)’, i.e. four to five fatty acid chains all conjugated to a single peptide. The designated role for the peptides was to act as a targeted carrier in a project on Alzheimer’s disease. The challenge was to make the peptide pass the brain barrier to do its work. “The key to making this work was to add multiple fatty acids to the peptide, which chemistry-wise is a nightmare when you’re aiming for a product with excellent yield and purity!” explains Jeroen. “Together with the expert team we came up with the following solution: to combine ‘easy-to-purify’ intermediate peptides with post-synthetic modifications and organic work-ups. Right now, we’re one of very few companies worldwide capable of producing MPPs.”

Precursor peptides

“Pepscan’s clients are often biologists,” Jeroen continues. “It is fantastic to experience how we, as Pepscan’s chemists, can be creative and combine our expertise with the client’s biological know-how and develop innovative peptide solutions together. A nice example involves the development of precursor peptides. These kinds of peptides, with an attached radioactive tracer, are developed with the objective to hook onto a target protein during radio-imaging. During the development process, we hit several different challenges, as biologists also do, which renders Pepscan a great team in developing highly usable peptide solutions for very specific and, above all, meaningful purposes. Both this and the creative, ‘solving the puzzle’ part are what I love about my job!”

Learn more about our longstanding experience in designing and synthesizing specialty peptides.