Cyrus Biotechnology Announces $18M Financing and Acquisition of Orthogonal Biologics to Form an Integrated Software-Driven Pre-Clinical-Stage Drug Discovery Firm
Post-acquisition firm combines a proprietary software/AI biologics discovery platform with a massively-parallel protein screening capability, and a developing pipeline of pre-clinical and discovery stage assets for infectious disease, rheumatology, rare diseases, and auto-immune disorders
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cyrus Biotechnology, Inc., a Seattle-based biotechnology firm with a proprietary software platform for biologics discovery, today announced the closing of a $18M Series B financing and acquisition of Orthogonal Biologics, a deep mutational scanning protein engineering spin-out from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The financing includes investments from OrbiMed Advisors, Trinity Ventures, Agent Capital, Yard Ventures, Washington Research Foundation (WRF), iSelect Fund, a leading Asian private equity firm, W Fund, family offices, and individual investors. Selecta Bioscience joined the financing as a strategic investor.
“We are thrilled to bring together a range of experienced biotech investors from across the globe to support our move into independent drug discovery, ” said Cyrus CEO Lucas Nivon. “Over the last four years we have worked with dozens of companies such as Janssen and other global pharmaceuticals to advance their biologics, honing and validating our algorithms in the process.”
Erik Procko, formerly CEO at Orthogonal Biologics, added that, “By merging our company with Cyrus we can create a unified biologics discovery platform, building on Cyrus’s years of software development and business relationships to create value across a range of indications where progress was previously impossible. In some cases progress has been stalled for decades, or an effective drug has never been discovered. We can change the progress of disease for many patients and, over time, in dozens of indications where our technology offers new opportunity and hope.”
Cyrus is focusing the combined software-and-screening platform on the re-design of natural proteins to produce superior biologics of unique efficacy and safety, meeting unmet medical needs for a range of indications. The firm has initiated a variety of in-house and partnered programs during the past 12 months, and the Orthogonal acquisition now adds a broad-spectrum protein-based COVID-19 therapeutic and another biologic to the pipeline. Programs in autoimmunity are being carried out in partnership with Selecta Biosciences, announced earlier this year. Cyrus also previously announced its collaboration with The Broad Institute in next-generation CRISPR engineering for reduced immunogenicity.
Cyrus’s software platform is based on years of work in computational biophysics and the first software algorithms to computationally design entirely new proteins with the Rosetta software package developed by David Baker’s lab at UW. On top of Rosetta, Cyrus incorporates proprietary AI algorithms and a range of bioinformatics and cheminformatics tools, cloud infrastructure, and rigorous benchmarking with internal and partnered data. This unified set of biologics discovery tools has helped advance a number of Cyrus’s partner’s molecules to pre-clinical development and IND. Orthogonal Biologics and Dr. Procko’s laboratory at UIUC have developed a uniquely powerful deep mutational scanning system, with capabilities across a range of protein and cell types, to produce accurate and highly human-relevant data for protein engineering. These capabilities have been used to identify and patent an exhaustive set of ACE2 receptor variants which serve as SARS-CoV-2 decoys and have significant therapeutic value. A subset now validated in animal studies shows unique resistance to novel emerging COVID variants when compared with antibodies and other therapeutics. This combined set of capabilities allows Cyrus to identify novel, effective and safe biologics more rapidly than with existing methods commonly used in BioPharma.
Geeta Vemuri, founder and managing partner at Agent Capital added, “Rosetta has been well-known for years in academia, and Cyrus has proven the power of its Rosetta-based platform as a software and services company. We are very excited to now apply those software and laboratory tools directly for Cyrus’s partners and in house drug discovery.”
About Cyrus Biotechnology
Cyrus Biotechnology is a pre-clinical-stage biotech company combining computational and experimental protein design and screening to create novel biologics for serious unmet medical needs. Using this approach, Cyrus is developing an early pipeline of innovative programs in multiple indications. The Cyrus platform improves both the efficacy (binding affinity, aggregation propensity, solubility, and stability) and safety (binding specificity and immunogenicity) of natural proteins. Cyrus is also partnering with leading biotech and pharma companies and research institutes to bring collaborative programs forward from discovery to the clinic. Cyrus is based on core software from the lab of David Baker at the University of Washington. Cyrus has worked with over 90 industry partners. The company is based in Seattle, WA and financed by leading US and Asian biotech and tech investors including Orbimed, Trinity Ventures, Springrock, Agent Capital, iSelect, Yard Ventures, WRF, and Alexandria. For more information about Cyrus please visit https://cyrusbio.com/.
NOTICE: The information contained in this document is dated as of November 30, 2021. Cyrus Biotechnology, Inc. (the Company) disclaims any obligation to update such information after such date. This document contains forward–looking statements reflecting the Company’s current expectations that necessarily involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events may differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements due to a number of factors and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the issuance of this press release.