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Synthetic, homogenous erythropoietin (EPO)

Solid-phase synthesis of homogenous, glycosylated EPO could lead to synthetic approaches for manufacture of biologics. Four oligosaccharides were synthesized and attached to peptide fragments obtained by solid-phase peptide synthesis. The glycosylated peptides were assembled by chemical ligation to yield homogenous EPO with one O-linked and three N-linked glycans. After assembly, EPO was folded. In a cultured, bone marrow-derived cell line and in mice, synthetic EPO exhibited activity comparable to Procrit. Next steps include synthesis of mutant proteins with oncogenic properties.
Johnson & Johnson markets Procrit recombinant EPO to treat anemia.

SciBX 7(2); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.67
Published online Jan. 16, 2014

Patent pending; available for licensing

Wang, P. et al. Science; published online Dec. 13, 2013;
Contact: Samuel J. Danishefsky, Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.