January 23, 2020 | Orbit Discovery awarded Innovate UK Smart Grant to incorporate Unnatural Amino Acids (UAAs) into Highly Complex Peptide Libraries

We are pleased to announce that Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has recognised this opportunity to improve the development of peptide therapeutics, and awarded Orbit a grant to further develop its peptide display platform with the incorporation of unnatural amino acids (UAAs).

The grant funds development of synthetic biology technology to enhance the existing Orbit Discovery screening platform and allow for the screening of potential drug targets with synthetic peptides possessing characteristics not possible in natural peptides.

With this project, Orbit will further develop its platform by integrating a peptide display technology that allows for the presentation of synthetic peptides which incorporate unnatural amino acids (UAAs). This allows for structural modifications in primary screening, whereby the full complexity of randomised peptide libraries can be addressed in a high throughput manner.

The improvements to the Orbit screening platform brought by incorporation of UAAs will enable the production of more stable peptide therapeutics. These are less likely to degrade when administered orally and potentially overcome limitations of structural constraints that limit target specificity, affinity and addressability.

These improvements to the Orbit platform will make screening more efficient and less costly, benefiting both Orbit and their partners’ discovery programmes.

Orbit Discovery’s peptide discovery platform builds on its unique capability to screen GPCRs for functional agonists and T-cell receptors for novel antigen and target identification. The platform was developed at the University of Oxford, from which Orbit was spun-out in 2016 with an exclusive, worldwide license to exploit the technology. Orbit is developing highly efficacious peptide-based drugs to target significant unmet medical needs in both internal discovery programmes and in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies.
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