Oxford Pharma announces $7.6 Million funding to accelerate growth in peptide discovery business

Schrodinger Building

Orbit Discovery Ltd, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, has raised $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.

Nick Dixon-Clegg, Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation, said: “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 Orbit team to advance their mission.

“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.

Dr Neil Butt, Chief Executive Officer of Orbit Discovery, added: “Our proprietary platform gives our clients a unique capability in high throughput affinity and cell based functional screening, efficiently delivering therapeutic relevant peptides.

“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.”

Orbit Discovery is a functional screening service company focused on the use of novel bead and microfluidic technology platforms to improve the throughput of functional screening of peptides, when searching for agonist of antagonists. The Orbit technologies encompass target protein expression and purification, with a focus on GPCRs; affinity screening to identify panels of target binding therapeutic candidates; and functional screening in cell-based assays. The Company’s multi-disciplinary team of world-class researchers and drug developers is working to translate this technology into breakthrough human therapeutics for our partners and collaborators; these parties encompass both large scale pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Orbit, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford, is based in the Oxford Science Park and benefits from the expertise and experience of its founders, Professor Graham Ogg (University of Oxford) and Professor Terry Rabbitts (formerly University of Oxford; now The Institute of Cancer Research).