Bright Peak secures investment of 107 million dollars
Bright Peak has raised a total of 107 million US dollars as part of a financing round. The biotechnology firm manufactures proteins that do not exist in the natural world using a process of chemical synthesis. One of the proteins is now regarded as a highly promising candidate for cancer immunotherapy.
Bright Peak Therapeutics, a biotechnology firm based in Basel and San Diego, California, has raised a total of 107 million US dollars following a successful Series B financing round, which was led by RA Capital. Among others, the seed investors Versant Ventures, a healthcare investment fund based in Silicon Valley, participated in the financing round. In fact, Versant Ventures had already invested 35 million dollars in Bright Peaks back in July of last year.
The internal research and development team at Bright Peak is based in Basel. The researchers, headed up by Jeffrey Bode, Professor of Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), and Vijaya Pattabiraman, Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, are intent on ushering in a new era of protein engineering, details of which can be found in a background report published by ETH. The team uses a process invented by Bode to synthesize peptides (KAHA ligation) with the aim of forming natural proteins, or more precisely cytokines, from scratch, so that they are more suitable as therapeutic agents. The overarching aim here is to develop new drugs.
“The investment from this accomplished crossover syndicate underscores the enthusiasm for our platform and re-affirms our commitment to transform the therapeutic utility of cytokines to treat people with cancer and autoimmune diseases”, comments Fredrik Wiklund, President and CEO of Bright Peak, in the company press release.
This platform, built over many years at ETH, allows proteins to be modified “as many times as we need to: once, five times or even a hundred times”, Bode explains. After having spent 20 years researching in this area, the first modified cytokine is now in mass production. More than 300 chemical steps were required to reach this stage. “Never before has such a sophisticated molecule been mass produced”, says Pattabiraman. Clinical trials are planned for this new molecule over the next year or two.