Peter Thiel Contributes to $35 Million Financing Round for Peptilogics

Peter Thiel_John Lamparski/Getty Images

Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

A new Series B financing round sees Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies, joining entrepreneur Christian Angermayer in investing $35 million in Pittsburgh, Penn.-based biotech Peptilogics.

"We are thrilled to have the support of this visionary investor syndicate to accelerate our growth," according to a statement made by Jonathan Steckbeck, Ph.D., MBA, Peptilogics’ Founder and CEO. "Our goal is to enable the industry by unlocking the full potential of peptides through the development of technologies that facilitate the rapid design of more effective therapeutics."

PayPal’s Thiel is no stranger to investing in the biotech world. He is currently a focused investor in Chemomab, a privately held clinical-stage biotech company focused on the development of treatments for fibrosis-related diseases. In mid-December, Chemomab announced a merger with Anchiano Therapeutics to accelerate the development of Chemomab’s CM-101 for the treatment of fibrotic diseases.

Thiel has also invested in AbCellera, a Canadian research and development company that raised $105 million in Series B financing in May and is preparing for a $391 million IPO. AbCellera partnered with Eli Lilly in early 2020, a collaboration that culminated to securing Emergency Use Authorization for antibody bamlanivimab to treat COVID-19. Approximately one million doses of the antibody are set to be produced by the end of 2020.

Also, both Thiel and Angermayer recently contributed to a $125 million Series C financing round in ATAI Life Sciences.

Angermayer added, "We are building the world's leading discovery and development platform for peptides, as we believe some of the world's most impactful medicines in the future will be peptides."

Closure of the Series B financing round, which was led by Presight Capital, will allow Peptilogics to further advance its proprietary computational peptide drug design and discovery platform. This computational platform works to discover connections in diverse biomedical data and maps peptide sequences.          

The company’s drug development team utilizes proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning strategies “to resolve the challenges with efficiency and accuracy that the industry's existing high throughput screening-based discovery methods have not been able to address, Peptilogics said in a statement. Once the platform learns the design language governing peptide function, it works to generate new and optimized treatments “that align with a desired target drug profile and which are specifically engineered to treat diseases from diverse indications.”

"Peptilogics' approach challenges traditional drug discovery methods by starting with a defined target drug profile and working backwards to design optimal, novel molecules," said Presight Capital’s Fabian Hansen. "We believe that scalable rational design, not random screening, is the future of drug discovery and Peptilogics is well-positioned to lead the way."

The company is currently researching PLG0206, its lead novel anti-infective candidate designed for the management of joint infections. The compound is in two clinical trials for this indication and has so far shown first-in-class safety and best-in-class efficacy, according to a statement made by Peptilogics.

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