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Orbit Discovery and SanegeneBio collaborate on new drug developments

The Business Magazine article image for: Orbit Discovery and SanegeneBio collaborate on new drug developments
6 January 2023
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Oxford-based Orbit Discovery Limited which is working on the discovery of therapeutic peptide hits, has entered into a Master Service Agreement with Massachusetts-based SanegeneBio Inc, a start-up company dedicated to developing novel RNAi-based medicines. The focus of the collaboration is to identify tissue-specific delivery of a wide range of RNA therapeutics to efficiently knock down disease-causing genes.

Last year Orbit Discovery Ltd was awarded a Smart grant by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. Totalling £472,000, the grant will facilitate the implementation of droplet-based microfluidics for cell-based functional screening and significantly expand the capabilities and throughput of Orbit’s peptide display platform. The project aims to advance the discovery of peptide therapeutic candidates including the most challenging of drug targets by improving overall process efficiency whilst reducing the risk and associated costs.

The agreement covers activities ranging from hit ID to cell-based internalisation studies, with an option for Sanegene to further develop the hits resulting from the screening activities. Through the collaboration with Orbit, Sanegene is looking to develop a portfolio of advanced RNAi therapeutics.

Orbit’s proprietary technology enables the screening of large libraries of peptides using a combination of DNA encoded libraries and bead-based presentation. The peptide display engine is uniquely able to address soluble targets and targets in situ, both on and in cells, allowing for significantly faster discovery times of relevant peptide leads based on affinity screens and/or functional screens.

Dr. Neil Butt, Chief Executive Officer of Orbit Discovery, said “Sanegene has established an incredible ability to screen for RNAi molecules in a robust and efficient manner. We are delighted to leverage the speed and performance of the Orbit platform to enable Sanegene to generate specific targeting peptides.

“This collaboration is further validation of our platform and adds to an expanding portfolio of partners that benefit from combining our technologies with our insight in the drug discovery process. Our aim is to make screening more relevant to the final biological read-outs, to ensure the right leads are selected first time, every time. This has the end goal of enabling the generation of future therapeutics with low toxicity and tissue specificity and ultimately, safer and more effective medicines.”

Dr. Weimin Wang, Chief Executive Officer of SanegeneBio, said: “Orbit has developed an impressive platform technology that is ideal for our requirements. We selected Orbit as our discovery partner because of the team’s experience in overcoming peptide screening challenges alongside an industry-leading platform. We are confident that the combination of Orbit’s peptide discovery capabilities and our expertise in RNAi drug discovery and development will facilitate the accelerated entry of our therapeutics portfolio into the clinic.”


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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