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Addition of Sialic Acid to Insulin Confers Superior Physical Properties and Bioequivalence

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-05-27, 18:44 authored by Daniel E. K. Kabotso, David Smiley, John P. Mayer, Vasily M. Gelfanov, Diego Perez-Tilve, Richard D. DiMarchi, Nicola L. B. Pohl, Fa Liu
Native insulin is susceptible to biophysical aggregation and fibril formation, promoted by manual agitation and elevated temperatures. The safety of the drug and its application to alternative forms of administration could be enhanced through the identification of chemical modifications that strengthen its physical stability without compromising its biological properties. Complex polysialic acids (PSAs) exist naturally and provide a means to enhance the physical properties of peptide therapeutics. A set of insulin analogues site-specifically derivatized with sialic acid were prepared in an overall yield of 50–60%. Addition of a single or multiple sialic acids conferred remarkable enhancement to the biophysical stability of human insulin while maintaining its potency. The time to the onset of fibrillation was extended by more than 10-fold relative to that of the native hormone. These results demonstrate that simplified sialic acid conjugates represent a viable alternative to complex natural PSAs in increasing the stability of therapeutic peptides.