The Oxford, UK-based Orbit Discovery, a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering candidate peptide therapeutics harnessing proprietary affinity and cell-based functional screening platforms, has raised US$7.6 million in funding.
The financing was led by Oxford Sciences Innovation, with participation from Borealis Ventures, Perivoli Innovations, and other institutional and individual investors, including Kapil Dev Joory.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate Orbit’s growth trajectory as a leading provider of peptide discovery services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
Orbit’s novel bead-based and microfluidic technology platform enables the screening of peptide libraries for target binding and subsequent activity in cell-based functional assays. This makes the platform ideal for identifying active peptides against both soluble proteins and membrane bound targets such as GPCRs.
“Orbit’s team has the right combination of scientific rigor and novel peptide technologies to lead a new generation of drug development, and we look forward to partnering with the team to advance their mission,” said Nick Dixon-Clegg, Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation. “Orbit is creating the next wave of innovative technologies that facilitate faster and more specific therapeutic molecule discovery. We believe the ability to assess specific binding and functional screening through a single platform is a key gap in the market and offers a strong future for the Company.”
Until now, researchers have struggled to unite high throughput affinity screens with functional screens utilising peptide libraries of very high chemical diversity. The use of a bead-based peptide display engine along with microfluidic technologies allows Orbit to interrogate the activity of each library member against single cells. This capability opens the door to identifying functional molecules including those that may have agonistic or antagonist properties on disease relevant targets. These functional leads provide the starting point for the development of peptide, small molecule, other therapeutics or as bioconjugates, providing exquisite targeting and cargo delivery mechanisms.
“Our proprietary platform gives our clients a unique capability in high throughput affinity and cell based functional screening, efficiently delivering therapeutic relevant peptides,” said Dr. Neil Butt, Chief Executive Officer, Orbit Discovery. “We intend to use this financing to position ourselves as a market leader in peptide discovery as we seek to develop therapies for the future.”