Challenges in oral peptide delivery: lessons learnt from the clinic and future prospects

Therapeutic peptides have become very successful drugs due to their specificity, potency and low toxicity, but they show challenges for their delivery, due to their short half-life and rapid plasma clearance. For these reasons, peptides are usually administered using injectable sustained-release formulations. Oral peptide route is highly compelling from a patient and commercial point of view. However, poor peptide stability and low permeability across the intestinal epithelium still make it very challenging to effectively deliver peptides by the oral route. In this paper, biopharmaceutical and formulation features of oral peptides, as well as key clinical outcomes, are reviewed and discussed in the perspective of designing next generation of oral peptide formulations for a true paradigm shift.