AI Proteins Secures $18.2 Million Seed Round to Pioneer High-Throughput Platform for Advanced Miniprotein Therapeutics
BOSTON–AI Proteins, the biotechnology company using artificial intelligence to design synthetic proteins de novo, today announced its public launch and the close of an oversubscribed $18.2 million seed series co-led by Cobro Ventures and Lightchain Capital. AI Proteins has built the first high-throughput platform that can design entirely synthetic proteins from scratch (“de novo”), giving engineers an unprecedented amount of control over protein function and properties.
“Our high-throughput platform is capable of producing molecules ready for pre-clinical studies at unprecedented speed—faster than we can test them. Partnering with others will help us realize the full potential of this platform and use it to bring as much good to the world as possible.”
“After a decade in academia, de novoprotein design is finally ready for prime time,” says AI Proteins founder, President, and CSO Dr. Chris Bahl. “With this technology, we will be able to bring next-generation therapeutics to the clinic faster.”
Whereas traditional approaches are limited to editing existing natural proteins, de novo design enables engineers to build the proteins they want—rather than modifying the proteins they have.
“With a high level of control, we can solve a lot of the problems that hold back current modalities and ultimately make medicines safer and more effective,” says Dr. Bahl. “We are no longer limited to tweaking a natural protein to do something it didn’t evolve to do.”
He continues: “Our high-throughput platform is capable of producing molecules ready for pre-clinical studies at unprecedented speed—faster than we can test them. Partnering with others will help us realize the full potential of this platform and use it to bring as much good to the world as possible.”
Drew Dennison, AI Proteins CEO and Managing Director of Lightchain Capital, said: “the AI Proteins platform is surrounded by all the right ingredients to drive success—a terrific and incredibly talented team, a dedicated group of investors with a deep commitment to the company, and an outstanding culture.”
Added Todd Kaloudis, Managing Director at Cobro Ventures: “As pioneers in their field, AI Proteins is poised to capitalize on major advances in computational and biological technologies to quickly create miniproteins tailor-made for many valuable applications. We are thrilled to support their mission.”
AI Proteins is using its de novo protein design platform to unlock the therapeutic potential of miniproteins, which are peptides that form a hyperstable three-dimensional structure. Miniproteins can solve many issues facing traditional antibody development, acting to drive down costs, speed up therapeutic development, and improve success rates.
Prior to forming AI Proteins, Dr. Bahl performed the first-ever miniprotein de novo design at the prestigious Institute for Protein Design in Seattle. He then moved to the Institute for Protein Innovation, a nonprofit research organization based on the Harvard Medical School campus in Boston, founded by Drs. Timothy Springer and Andrew Kruse. Dr. Bahl also has faculty co-appointments at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The exceptional facilities and scientific environment at the IPI enabled and supported Dr. Bahl to assemble and train his team of protein engineers and test the ideas that led to the formation of AI Proteins.
“Part of IPI’s purpose is to explore emerging protein technologies and support the next generation of protein engineers,” says Dr. Rob Meijers, IPI’s Director of the Antibody Platform and Interim Executive Director. “Chris Bahl’s time at IPI, and the evolution of his team, exemplifies the kind of discovery efforts that IPI will continue to advance.”
About AI Proteins
AI Proteins is re-imagining protein therapeutics with a novel approach for designing entirely new proteins. Using AI-based design and a high-throughput drug discovery platform, AI Proteins creates de novo proteins optimized for specific therapeutic applications. The AI Proteins platform enables the development of inexpensive, durable, highly specific proteins that can be optimized for oral delivery. For more information, please visit aiproteins.com.
About the Institute for Protein Innovation
The Institute for Protein Innovation (IPI) is pioneering a new approach to scientific discovery and collaboration. As a nonprofit, IPI provides academia and industry with synthetic antibodies and deep protein expertise, empowering researchers to unlock the most elusive mysteries of biology. IPI’s mission is to advance protein science to accelerate research and improve human health. For more information, visit https://proteininnovation.org/ or follow IPI on social media, @ipiproteins