What You Should Know:
- Pepper Bio, the “Google Maps for drug discovery,” today announced an oversubscribed $6.5 million seed round led by NFX with participation from Silverton Partners, Merck Digital Sciences Studio, Mana Ventures, Tensility Ventures, VSC Ventures, and more.
- Pepper Bio is the world’s first transomics company, which maps data across all the -omics layers and translates it into the fastest route for discovering new drugs, finding new uses for existing therapeutics, and rescuing drugs that may otherwise fail.
Revolutionizing Drug Discovery: Pepper Bio’s COMPASS Platform Unveils Real-Time Protein Function for Faster and More Effective Treatment Development
Similar to how Google Maps integrates various layers of data such as traffic, weather, and road closures to assist drivers in finding the quickest and safest route, Pepper’s COMPASS platform decodes layers of biological maps—genomics (genes), transcriptomics (RNA), proteomics (proteins), and phosphoproteomics (protein function)—providing researchers with a comprehensive understanding of how diseases affect biology.
What distinguishes Pepper is its unparalleled capability to examine the real-time function of proteins within a biological system, going beyond the conventional methods that solely measure the presence, type, and quantity of proteins. COMPASS by Pepper unveils the intricate functions of these proteins, significantly influencing how we approach the development of drugs. This transomic analysis aids researchers in identifying potential treatments early in the drug discovery process, thereby reducing the time it takes to transition from research to clinical trials.
This is crucial given the current inefficiencies in drug discovery, where there is an average 3% probability of success for any given drug, and it takes over 10 years to bring new treatments to market. This prolonged timeline leaves individuals with untreated diseases waiting for solutions that may not be available in time. Researchers require more effective tools to swiftly identify challenges, save both money and time, and redirect incentives towards investing in research and development for rare, complex, and ‘untreatable’ diseases.
Since emerging from stealth mode in 2021, Pepper Bio has concentrated on research and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies in oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory diseases. In the current year, Pepper Bio has secured agreements with a leading pharmaceutical company in the US, a prominent international pharmaceutical company, and has actively participated in the inaugural Merck Digital Sciences Studio (MDSS) cohort, dedicated to supporting innovative drug discovery and development technologies. Furthermore, the company has applied its technology in an ongoing collaboration with Stanford’s Felsher Lab to pinpoint and validate novel therapeutic targets for hepatocellular carcinoma and lymphoma.
“Today marks a significant milestone for us at Pepper Bio. Drug discovery faces historically low success—leaving so many individuals grappling with untreated diseases and uncertainty,” said Jon Hu, co-founder and CEO of Pepper Bio. “This funding will enable us to expand our platform capabilities, further support our current pharma partnerships, and build out our internal pipeline.”