CQDM Invests with MaRS in Orally Bioavailable Peptide Drug Research

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At BIO 2015, CQDM and MaRS Innovation announced an investment in Encycle Therapeutics to research chemical properties needed to make peptide-like molecules orally bioavailable.


On June 16, 2015 Encycle Therapeutics announced that it received $840,000 in funding from CQDM, a consortium designed to fund breakthrough tools and technologies to advance biopharma research and development, and MaRS Innovation to “generate a better understanding of the chemical properties required to make small peptide-like molecules, which Encycle calls nacellins, orally bioavailable,” according to a press release. The funding was made possible through MaRs Innovation’s partnerships with Pfizer and GSK, and CQDM’s global membership program with Pfizer and Merck.

"Encycle's proprietary cyclized peptides are very different from other types of therapeutics and should enable us to target many of the proteins that are currently regarded as undruggable. Our research suggests that, due to their unique properties, it's easier for our peptides to cross cell membranes than it is for other types, allowing them to be taken orally and access proteins on the inside of a cell. Working on this project together with Pfizer and Merck through CQDM, as well as Pfizer and GSK through MaRS Innovation, we now wish to develop a more precise understanding of the relationship between their structure and composition, and the ability to be delivered orally,” said Jeffrey Coull, PhD, president and CEO of Encycle, in a press release.


Diane Gosselin, PhD, president and CEO of CQDM, and Raphael Hofstein, PhD, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation, announced the Encycle partnership at the 2015 BIO International Convention. The funding brings total investments into Encycle to approximately $4 million.

"The future of therapeutics belongs to molecules that are orally bioavailable. A better understanding of the oral-bioavailability properties and capabilities will give Encycle's macrocycles a considerable advantage over those of their competitors, many of which cannot be orally consumed. It also represents a prime example of how MaRS Innovation commercializes academic assets. I commend Encycle for their success in engaging the pharmaceutical community in developing and validating this unique drug discovery platform,” said Rafi Hofstein, PhD, MaRS Innovation's president and CEO and chair of Encycle's Board of Directors, in a press release.

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