Octant is responding to the global call for collaboration by open-sourcing part of its platform under the Open COVID Pledge for use in the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has shared these technological repurposing efforts for viral detection and a new protocol called SwabSeq here
FREMONT, CA: Synthetic biology drug discovery company Octant raised USD 30 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The round was also participated by 8VC, SV Angel, Allen & Co, and several top-tier private investors also participated in the recent financing. The company will use proceeds from this investment round to develop its discovery platform, which targets large numbers of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their downstream signaling pathways to engineering drugs to treat complex diseases.
"We formed Octant to transform the treatment of society's most complex diseases, for example, metabolic and neurological diseases, which involve many protein receptors and receptor pathways. Our discovery platform was designed to map and measure the interconnected relationships between chemicals, multiple drug-receptor pathways, and diseases, enabling us to engineer multi-targeted drugs more rationally, across a wide spectrum of targets," said Sri Kosuri, ScD, co-founder, and chief executive officer. "By assaying massive numbers of drug-receptor pathways at previously unthinkable scales, we are building what the biology is telling us the future of drug discovery will require."
Currently, Octant is responding to the global call for collaboration by open-sourcing part of its platform under the Open COVID Pledge for use in the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has shared these technological repurposing efforts for viral detection and a new protocol called SwabSeq here. "Some of the most valuable drugs in history work on complex sets of drug targets, which is why Octant's focus on polypharmacology is so compelling," said Jason Kelly, Ph.D., member of the Octant Board of Directors and co-founder and CEO of Gingko Bioworks. "Octant is engineering a lot of luck and cost out of the drug discovery equation with its novel platform and unique big data biology insights, which will drive the company's internal development programs as well as potential partnerships."
The company's discovery platform uses synthetic biology, genome engineering, next-generation sequencing, functional genomics, and computational tools to map the activity of thousands of receptor pathways in human cells, generating data sets and predictive insights that accelerate chemical discovery and optimization. With the help of genetic barcodes, fingerprints, the company can reveal chemical-receptor activity in a pooled fashion, saving time and costs compared to conventional serial discovery approaches.