No More Needles! Orbis Unveils Groundbreaking Oral Peptide Drugs

In a bid to revolutionize the landscape of biologic drugs, Orbis Medicines has emerged from stealth mode with a promising solution – oral peptide therapies.

In a bid to revolutionize the landscape of biologic drugs, Orbis Medicines has emerged from stealth mode with a promising solution – oral peptide therapies. Backed by a substantial €26 million (approximately $28 million) in seed financing led by Novo Holdings and Forbion, the startup aims to tackle a broader range of targets with drugs that can be taken orally, eliminating the need for injections or infusions.

Peptides, chains of amino acids, hold significant potential in drug research due to their ability to bind to challenging targets. However, the development of peptide-based drugs for oral delivery has been hindered by poor bioavailability. Orbis Medicines is addressing this challenge with macrocyclic peptides, compounds that adopt a ring shape, offering increased versatility in binding to various targets.

According to Morten Døssing, partner at Novo Holdings and chair of Orbis’s board of directors, conventional methods in peptide drug research yield limited compounds against a given target. In contrast, Orbis’s technology platform enables the rapid design of macrocycles with desired properties such as oral bioavailability and cellular permeability. Leveraging machine learning techniques, Orbis can synthesize and screen thousands of compounds in a fraction of the time required by traditional methods.

The company’s technology has already demonstrated promise in a study published in Nature Chemical Biology, where scientists synthesized over 8,000 cyclic peptides targeting thrombin, a key enzyme in clotting. This achievement underscores the potential of Orbis’s approach to deliver orally available peptides against validated targets.

Orbis Medicines traces its roots to research conducted by scientific co-founders Christian Heinis and Sevan Habeshian, professors at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Heinis, also a co-founder of Bicycle Therapeutics, brings valuable expertise in peptide-based drug development to Orbis. The company’s focus on macrocycles represents a significant advancement, potentially overcoming the size limitations associated with traditional peptide drugs.

While specific disease targets remain undisclosed, Orbis aims to address validated targets currently targeted by antibody drugs. By converting antibody therapies into an oral macrocycle format, the company seeks to offer patients a more convenient and accessible treatment option.

With the seed financing, Orbis Medicines plans to further develop its macrocycle technology, known as nGen, and expand its pipeline of drug candidates, referred to as nCycles. While timelines for clinical development remain unspecified, the company’s launch signals a new chapter in the advancement of oral peptide therapies.

As the field of macrocycle drug development gains momentum, Orbis Medicines stands at the forefront, poised to reshape the landscape of biologic treatments with its innovative approach to oral peptide therapies.