MENLO PARK, California, June 30, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Anthéia, a synthetic biology company enabling next-generation plant-inspired drugs, today announced that it has raised $ 73 million in Series B funding. The oversubscribed funding round was led by Viking Global Investors and included participation from Sherpalo Ventures and Hillspire. The funds will support Antheia as it brings its first pharmaceutical compound to market and ramps up production of a number of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and key raw materials (KSMs).
Today, more than 40 percent of drugs come from nature, and many drugs on the WHO and FDA’s Essential Medicines List come directly from herbal medicines. One of the main challenges of herbal medicines is their fragile supply chains, which rely on a multi-year process of growing, harvesting, transporting and processing specialized plants. These supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions such as natural disasters and geopolitical conflicts, and can only be deployed in certain regions of the world. In times of extreme demand or limited supply, shortages of many herbal medicines can arise, as was the case recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Antheia’s Synthetic Biology Platform Can Prevent Drug Shortages by Enabling More Resilient and Agile Production of Essential Medicines for US and Global Markets, Solving One of the Industry’s Toughest Problems and improving the health system as a whole, ”said Dr. Christina smolke, co-founder and CEO of Antheia. “With this funding, we are equipped to begin decoupling the production of essential plant-based medicines from unpredictable harvests and unsustainable supply chains, while ensuring that these essential and life-saving medicines are available when and where they are needed. no longer needed. “
Antheia has created and validated an alternative to conventional drug manufacturing technologies, which generally rely on synthetic chemistry. While modern synthetic chemistry has been used to produce a wide range of medicinal molecules, natural herbal products have long been considered a holy grail due to their complex structures. Antheia focuses on several classes of herbal-inspired pharmaceuticals that cannot be produced by an evolutionary synthetic chemistry process. Antheia has successfully produced these highly complex pharmaceuticals by pioneering cell engineering, a technique that reconstructs multistep biosynthetic pathways of unprecedented complexity in yeast cells. With Antheia’s technology, cells are designed to make dozens of enzymes and transporters that work together to turn the cell into a miniature factory to efficiently assemble some of the most complex molecules known to mankind.
“Antheia is at the forefront of innovation in synthetic biology, and its platform can deliver significant improvements in production time, scale and cost for our most essential plant-inspired medicines,” said Patrick yang, member of the board of directors of Antheia, executive vice president of National Resilience, Inc. and former executive vice president of Roche / Genentech. “Antheia’s bio-based fermentation approach is redefining the basics of drug manufacturing to be more flexible and responsive, a significant improvement in speed and capabilities, and a potential transformation of our current drug supply chains. . As countries around the world reorganize their pharmaceutical supply chains, manufacturing technologies such as bio-based fermentation will be the key to success. “
Antheia has already proven itself with its synthetic biology platform for complex pharmaceutical compounds. He produced his first molecule, a KSM for a number of essential drugs, at commercially relevant titers in pilot scale trials (300L), and showed that the resulting material is chemically equivalent to that extracted from plants. The company has also demonstrated the biosynthesis of four major classes of herbal drugs. In September 2020, Dr Smolke published an article in Nature describing the first successful microbial biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids, a class of essential drugs used to treat neuromuscular disorders.
Antheia’s platform can be applied to a wide variety of pharmaceuticals that typically rely on molecules derived from plants, including pain relievers, cough suppressants, chemotherapy drugs, and neurotransmitter inhibitors. In addition, Antheia’s synthetic biology platform opens up the possibility of developing new drugs in an under-represented chemical space, making it possible to address biological targets that are currently considered “non-drug”. Taken as a whole, the company’s platform represents a scalable, cost-effective and rapid response fermentation-based manufacturing process for essential medicines that will help ensure greater resilience and better preparedness for emergencies. for health systems of all sizes.
Antheia unleashes the medicinal power of nature through synthetic biology. Using a novel whole-cell engineering approach to reconstruct complex molecules in yeast, Antheia’s platform enables the discovery and manufacture of plant-inspired drugs of unprecedented complexity and diversity. Antheia’s team of scientists and technologists is based in Menlo Park, California. For more information visit www.antheia.bio.
CONTACT: Mission Nord for Antheia, [email protected]