Amide Technologies Announces Complex Peptide Manufacturing Platform, Raises $16.5M to Expedite Frontier Drug Discovery
Spun out of MIT, Amide partners with biopharmas to accelerate peptide drug development – shortening synthesis to days instead of months – with peptides 3x longer than existing methods
Cambridge, MA – December 14, 2023 – Amide Technologies, a biotech that synthesizes challenging peptides, announced today that it has begun commercializing its novel peptide manufacturing platform. The company also announced it has raised $16.5 million in total funding to date, which includes a $7.5 million Series A Extension investment closed in July 2023 led by Engine Ventures with participation from Forcefield Venture Fund. Previous rounds included a $3.55M Series A, also led by Engine Ventures, and a $5.45M Seed Round led by Biological Engineering Ventures.
Peptides are strings of amino acids, which are the “building blocks” of proteins. FDA approvals of peptide-based therapeutic drugs have increased significantly in recent years, given their efficacy in treating diseases such as autoimmune disorders, cancers, diabetes, and infections. New advances in structural biology, recombinant biologics, and AI-driven technologies have improved drug design and delivery methods, overcoming many previous pharmacokinetic behavior drawbacks of peptides. Popular peptide-based drugs include Type II diabetes medications Mounjaro, Ozempic, Trulicity and Victoza, as well as osteoporosis drug Forteo and cancer treatments Lupron and Zoladex.
To develop and test peptides, biopharmaceutical companies source their materials from DNA synthesis companies that can naturally express peptides or Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis (SPPS) vendors that synthetically produce low-complexity polyamides featuring fewer than 40 amino acids. Yet, there remains a wide swath of peptides not served by this $4.7 billion industry that are too long to synthesize with traditional SPPS and impossible to obtain via biological expression. Amide is pioneering a third approach to bridge this synthesis gap.
“Amide delivers on complex peptide orders that other vendors refuse because peptide sourcing shouldn’t stand in the way of discovery,” said Amide CEO Mark Simon, PhD. “Amide provides unprecedented access to large and unusual compounds to eliminate pain points for discovery chemistry teams and enable better, faster science.”
Developed in the Pentelute Lab within MIT’s Department of Chemistry, Amide’s complex peptide manufacturing platform expands what is possible in peptide drug design by offering reliable linear synthesis of peptides up to 120 amino acids, dramatically improving upon SPPS technology’s maximum of around 40 amino acids. Amide’s Automated Fast Flow Peptide Synthesis (AFPS) method uses heat and flow to enable fast, reliable synthesis of complex peptides that can’t be naturally expressed, such as mirror image proteins and branched structures.
The company can ship urgent orders within a week, empowering rapid design-build-test cycles for labs who typically wait weeks to months to test one hypothesis. For the first time, customers have routine access to highly hydrophobic peptides, cyclic constructs, branched peptides, and mirror image proteins. Novel structures enable novel modalities, which means more effective clinical programs supported by Amide’s synthesis capabilities.
“Amide is well-positioned to turbocharge today’s most exciting pharmaceutical frontiers: the search for novel therapeutic modalities with multiple biological activities, meaning more drugs that hit multiple targets,” said Reed Sturtevant, General Partner, Engine Ventures and Amide Board Member. “Previously, it could be months between an idea for a new protein and having that protein in hand – Amide is shrinking that timespan to days. In the world of drug discovery, timing is critical, and Amide is a powerful accelerant.”
Amide is using the funding to scale operations, build additional instrumentation, and launch new pilot programs with pharmaceutical partners. Amide currently works with organizations including The Salk Institute and Velia Therapeutics to manufacture peptides not manufacturable by other means, such as mirror image enzymes and multimeric polyamides.
“Amide’s significant advances in peptide synthesis has allowed us to obtain synthetic versions of very long peptides which historically would have been intractable,” said Mack Flinspach, Executive Director, Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology at Velia, Inc. “The Amide team has solved several key issues with troublesome off-path reactions that can happen under standard SPPS conditions and experimental timeframes, while also providing us outstanding customer service.”
Amide has made several executive hires in 2023, including CEO Simon, a Ginkgo Bioworks alum who led the MIT team that developed Amide’s platform technology from 2011 to 2017. The company also hired as COO Philip Dixon, a former CIO of Silverrail Technologies and a veteran of the Flights and M&A teams at Google, where he landed after helping shepherd ITA Software to an acquisition in 2011. ITA Software founder and CEO Jeremy Wertheimer is an Amide co-founder and Board Member, alongside MIT Professor of Chemistry Brad Pentelute, PhD.
About Amide Technologies
Amide Technologies is a biotech startup offering on-demand complex peptide manufacturing at unprecedented speed. Through its novel manufacturing platform developed at MIT, Amide is bridging the gap between traditional solid phase peptide synthesis and biological expression, empowering scientists on the cutting edge of peptide drug design. To learn more about Amide, visit amidetech.com.
About Engine Ventures
Engine Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in the next generation of Tough Tech founders: providing capital, operational expertise, and a powerful academic, commercial, and governmental network to build and scale companies unlocking massive opportunities in climate change, human health, and advanced systems. Visit www.engineventures.com to learn more.