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"Optimization of cell-penetrating peptides to enable therapeutics with intracellular targets"

The P2P CPP project (2021-2023) aimed to gain a more in-depth understanding of how cell penetrating peptide (CPP) drugs affect the human physiology. The project’s overall aim was that the increased understanding could help pave the way for CPP-drugs. 

Using both in vitro electrophysiological and vasodilation assays, the P2P CPP team employed an iterative approach to test different CPP-drugs. They reasoned that a model for predicting both saffe and efficient CPP-delivery of intracellular drugs could help researchers select the most optimal CPP for a specific drug cargo. Thereby, such a model could help acclerate optimization of CPP drugs and thereby unlock the potential of the many intracellular drug targets already know.

On this page you can can watch a video recorded at the beginning of the P2P CPP project. You can also read a very short cartoon introdction to the project or a longer article on the project outputs.


Academic team members

  • Hanne Poulsen, Associate Professor, Aarhus University
  • Ulf Simonsen, Professor, Aarhus University
  • Daniel Otzen, Professor, Aarhus University
  • Xingya Chang
  • Estéfano Pinilla

Industrial team member

  • Richard Bethell, STipe Therapeutics

"It has been extremely inspiring and rewarding to work closely with STipe Therapeutics, especially with their CDO Richard. Richard has a really broad knowledge of drug development, and he has an incredible knowledge within chemistry and molecular biology. Therefore, he has quickly understood our results and helped us with interpretation and suggestions for substantiation.

It has been quite obvious to do the P2P CPP project as an open collaboration, since STipe Therapeutics' interest is in the specific mechanism of action of their active compounds and target - not the technical aspects of how these compounds achieve it. Our basic scientific curiosity, on the other hand, is in the wondrous molecular and physiological mechanisms of cell-penetrating peptides."


Hanne Poulsen, Head of the P2P CPP project

“Two pharma companies contacted us during the project. I guess they had heard about our project through the ODIN network because it’s a requirement that all findings are shared openly with the public. Most pharma companies are obviously interested in reaching some of the many potential intracellular targets, and we are happy to share our findings with them and anybody else, who are interested.”


Hanne Poulsen, Head of the P2P CPP project

"I’d like to be part of an ODIN project again because it was a fun and interesting experience to interact with collaborators in completely different fields of science. We learned and gained new perspectives on the mechanisms underlying the toxic effects of cell-penetrating peptides. Moreover, these techniques and approaches could be applied in our other projects."


Ulf Simonsen, Participant in the P2P CPP project

"As a company aiming to deliver peptides and other pharmacologically active molecules into cells to target intracellular proteins, and having seen unexpected toxicity in an early prototype molecule incorporating a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP), we had an interest in understanding the parameters that determine both the safety and efficacy of bioactive molecules that incorporate CPPs. It thus seemed an obvious project for the ODIN platform, and it was very gratifying to see the enthusiasm with which these questions were taken on by a diverse teams of excellent scientists. The group now has a novel hypothesis for a cause of the toxicity, which may enable the future optimization of this drug delivery technology."


Richard C Bethell, STipe Therapeutics

Industry partner in the P2P CPP project


We unite right minds from industry and academia so that they can jointly create need-driven research projects - and pave the way for innovative new treatments in the future. Through competitive funding calls, we fund the best projects ideas. Although companies cannot receive funding, it is free of charge to join.

The 5-year platform is sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with 180 M DKK from 2024-2028.


You are always welcome to reach out if you have questions or comments. Reach out to odin@au.dk or find the Secretariat's direct email addresses under contacts.

Although we're spanning five Danish universities, we're based in Aarhus. Our office is located at Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 121, blg 1521-216.