EpiBiologics announced that it had secured $50m (€45.9m) in funding to buildout its antibody-based protein degradation platform, known as EpiTAC, for membrane and extracellular drug targets.
The Series A funding round was co-led by Mubadala Capital and Polaris Partners, with Vivo Capital and GV also participating.
According to the biotech, protein degradation technology holds particular potential due to its ability to target diseases that have been previously difficult to find treatments for.
The company added that first generation protein degradation approaches can degrade intracellular proteins, but do not address membrane and extracellular proteins, which make up approximately 40% of the proteome.
EpiBiologics has built an atlas of tissue-specific degrade antibodies through its EpiTAC platform, which will allow it to target proteins for new treatments in cancer, immunology, and neuro-related conditions.
The technology was created through the work of Jim Wells, of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the platform intellectual property has been licensed from the university. In previous studies, Wells Lab, of UCSF, demonstrated that membrane E3 ligases and cytokine receptors could be leveraged as cell surface ligands to internalize and degrade membrane or extracellular drug targets, the biotech stated.
Rami Hannoush, interim-CEO, said, “Since launching the company, the team at EpiBiologics has been able to further validate and industrialize the EpiTAC platform, creating a fit-for-purpose atlas of degraders. The current financing will enable us to expand and validate the platform, advance our pipeline of drug candidates, and further build our talented team of scientists and protein engineers.”
Alongside raising the Series A funds, the biotech was also able to announce that it had appointed a CSO, Shyra Gardia. In her most recent role, Gardai was VP of therapeutic discovery research at Seagen for close to a decade, and previously worked at Janssen as a principal scientist for a four-year period. Earlier this month, it was announced that Pfizer would acquire Seagen for $43bn.
Regarding its investment in EpiBiologics, Alaa Halawa, head of US ventures business at Mubadala Capital, stated that it planned to work ‘hand-in-hand’ with the founding scientists to build the company from the ground up. Halawa added that the asset management company believed EpiBiologics’ EpiTAC platform to have a ‘transformative’ potential for the protein degradation approach.