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.
Just like how Google Maps combines layers of data on traffic, weather, and road closures to help drivers find the fastest and safest route, Pepper’s COMPASS platform translates layers of biological maps—genomics (genes), transcriptomics (RNA), proteomics (proteins), and phosphoproteomics (function of proteins)—to offer researchers a complete picture of how diseases impact biology.
What sets Pepper apart from other drug discovery platforms is its unprecedented ability to look at the real-time function of proteins in a biological system, as opposed to the current methods of only measuring the presence, type, and quantity of proteins. Pepper’s COMPASS unveils the intricate functions of these proteins, which significantly impact how we build and develop drugs. This transomic analysis helps researchers determine which treatments may be most effective early in the drug discovery process, thereby reducing the time it takes to get from research to clinical trials.
This is critical due to the current inefficient state of drug discovery—which has a 3% average probability of success for any given drug and takes over 10 years to bring new treatments to market, leaving those diagnosed with untreated diseases waiting on solutions that may not be available in time. Researchers need better tools to swiftly identify challenges, save money and time, and shift incentives toward investing in rare, complicated, and ‘untreatable’ disease drug research and development.
“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.”
Since launching from stealth in 2021, Pepper Bio has focused on research and partnerships with pharmaceutical companies in oncology and neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases.
"By integrating a 360-view of data across multiple biological layers, Pepper's platform gives pharma companies a significantly better map of both pre-clinical and late-stage clinical decisions," explained Omri Drory, Ph.D., General Partner at NFX Bio. "We have strong conviction in Jon, Samantha, and the Pepper Bio team's ability to deliver novel lifesaving treatments to millions of people around the world."
This year, Pepper Bio has inked deals with a top five pharmaceutical company in the US, a large international pharmaceutical company, as well as participated in the inaugural Merck Digital Sciences Studio (MDSS) cohort, dedicated to enabling and funding innovative drug discovery and development technologies. Additionally, the company leveraged its technology in an ongoing collaboration with Stanford's Felsher Lab to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets for hepatocellular carcinoma and lymphoma.
To learn more about how Pepper Bio is impacting drug discovery, visit www.pepper.bio.
Pepper Bio is the world's first transomics drug discovery company, leveraging its proprietary transomics database and analytics to identify promising first-in-class therapies, rediscover new uses for existing therapeutics, and rescue drugs in development on a path toward failure. Founded in 2020 and based in Boston, Massachusetts, Pepper Bio is led by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jon Hu, and co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Samantha Dale Strasser, Ph.D. To learn more about Pepper, please visit http://pepper.bio.