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Orbis Medicines Launches with €26 Million Seed Financing

Orbis Medicines Launches with €26 Million Seed Financing to Transform Macrocycle Drug Development through Next-Generation Orally Dosable ‘nCycles’.

Orbis Medicines, a leader in oral macrocycle drug discovery, today announces its launch with a €26 million financing led by global life sciences investor Novo Holdings and European life sciences venture firm Forbion. The funding will support Orbis’ expansion and advancement of its portfolio of next-generation macrocycle drugs it calls ‘nCycles’. Macrocycles are a large and diverse family of compounds with highly desirable therapeutic properties, defined by the presence of a cyclic structure. nCycles are systematically designed by Orbis’ nGen1 platform to be orally bioavailable and membrane permeable, solving decades-long challenges in macrocycle drug design.

The Orbis pipeline includes programs against targets validated by blockbuster biologic drugs, with the goal of providing oral alternatives that will enable the treatment of many more patients. In addition, Orbis is developing a pipeline of nCycles for other attractive target classes, both intra- and extra-cellular. Oral macrocycle drugs can potentially address a very wide range of diseases based on their ability to target a majority of the potential molecular targets in the body.

“After decades of challenging de novo synthesis, the universe of potential macrocycle targets is now available for exploration. Not only can Orbis reach a wealth of new targets, both inside and outside cells, but we can do this while preserving an oral format to pioneer a new therapeutic class of oral macrocycles. It’s a milestone for drug development,” said Morten Døssing, Chair of the Orbis Board and Partner at Novo Holdings. “We believe Orbis has the premier chemistry-led approach in the field, which gives us a distinct data advantage. We can generate hundreds of thousands of diverse compounds in record time and immediately apply a range of functional assays in a high-throughput fashion to each individual compound to home in on winners. Establishing this robust, reliable engine for candidate design was crucial for us as we look to bring macrocycle drugs to major patient populations.”

We believe Orbis has the premier chemistry-led approach in the field, which gives us a distinct data advantage.

Morten Døssing, Chair of the Orbis Board

Orbis was founded in 2021 by the Seeds Investment team of Novo Holdings, with Mr. Døssing as Executive Chair and João Ribas as interim CBO establishing the company’s team and building its corporate strategy. The scientific foundation of Orbis was developed by Prof. Christian Heinis and Sevan Habeshian at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).

“The broad potential of oral macrocycle drugs to address challenging targets untouchable by small molecules, coupled with recent momentum in the field, makes this an incredibly exciting development,” said Marco Boorsma, Ph.D., General Partner at Forbion. “With a compelling AI-enabled platform technology, scientific expertise and a clear strategy for growth, Orbis is attracting strong interest for its approach to finally delivering on the promise of this class for medicine. We believe Orbis’s combinatorial approach and ability to continuously generate big data from real compounds gives them an undeniable opportunity to unlock the potential of orally available macrocycle drugs for significantly larger patient populations.”

The chemical methods by which Orbis rapidly generates vast libraries of diverse macrocycle compounds ready for immediate assay were previously published in Nature Communications. Authors of the paper, which included Orbis’ founders Professor Heinis and Dr. Habeshian, detail how the methods draw on a large range of components to build compounds, including both natural and synthetic amino acids, creating an extremely large chemical space for exploration. Additionally, research recently published  in Nature Chemical Biology demonstrates nGen’s ability to deliver nCycles that are orally bioavailable, marking a new era for macrocycle drug discovery.


Read the press release here

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