Greening the synthesis of peptide therapeutics: an industrial perspective
Solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) is generally the method of choice for the chemical synthesis of peptides, allowing routine synthesis of virtually any type of peptide sequence, including complex or cyclic peptide products. Importantly, SPPS can be automated and is scalable, which has led to its widespread adoption in the pharmaceutical industry, and a variety of marketed peptide-based drugs are now manufactured using this approach. However, SPPS-based synthetic strategies suffer from a negative environmental footprint mainly due to extensive solvent use. Moreover, most of the solvents used in peptide chemistry are classified as problematic by environmental agencies around the world and will soon need to be replaced, which in recent years has spurred a movement in academia and industry to make peptide synthesis greener. These efforts have been centred around solvent substitution, recycling and reduction, as well as exploring alternative synthetic methods. In this review, we focus on methods pertaining to solvent substitution and reduction with large-scale industrial production in mind, and further outline emerging technologies for peptide synthesis. Specifically, the technical requirements for large-scale manufacturing of peptide therapeutics are addressed.