British AI-based drug development technology firm secures investment

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Peptone, a computational physics start-up, has secured US$2.5m (£1.8m) to further develop its protein engineering operating system, which is designed to speed-up medicine development.

The UK-based company said the funding will enable it to develop its technology, which is said to reduce the risk of failure in early stages of drug development by taking on high-value protein targets.

Peptone aims to accelerate biotechnology research through its Protein Engineering Operating System (PeOS), which uses computational molecular physics orchestrated by AI to sifts through millions of protein feature anomalies in order to assess the likelihood of a new protein failing.

By using AI, the technology can suggest the best route to resolution and support the faster and more affordable generation of new lab-based molecules, said Peptone.

The system, developed over three years, is designed to handle massively parallel molecular simulations that were organised and supervised by reinforcement learning algorithms.

According to the company, the core functionality of the platform is an automated search for non-obvious protein variants with desirable therapeutic properties and cost-effective manufacturability.

Dr Kamil Tamiola, CEO of Peptone, said: “Our sole focus at Peptone is to embrace experimental failure and, in fact, acknowledge it as an absolutely vital stage in the process of getting the design of protein-based medicines right.

“The business of protein therapeutics is a huge industry and as we grow and further develop our supercomputing capacity, we can help make significant progress in the time to market for much sought-after protein-based treatments.”

The seed round of funding was led by Hoxton Ventures and supported by dRx Capital, a venture arm of Novartis Pharma, Founders Factory and a number of angel investors including Brent Hoberman.

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