Orbit Discovery awarded grant to advance screening platform  

Biopharmaceutical company Orbit Discovery has been awarded almost £500,000 in a grant to help it expand its microfluidics screening capabilities.  

The £472,000 Smart grant was awarded by Innovate UK and will facilitate the implementation of droplet-based microfluidics for cell-based functional screening and expand the capabilities and throughput of Orbit’s peptide display platform. 

Orbit is currently working on ways to advance the discovery of peptide therapeutic candidates, including the most challenging drug targets, by improving overall process efficiency whilst reducing the risk and associated costs. Orbit hopes the funds will further validate the microfluidic components of its peptide discovery platform, resulting in a next-generation microfluidic-based functional screen capable of interrogating millions of peptides in cell-based assays. 

The high-throughput screening platform Orbit is developing is focused on multi-membrane spanning proteins, such as G-protein-coupled receptors. The platform will rapidly identify molecules which generate a therapeutically-relevant functional response earlier in the drug discovery process. This will avoid polluting screening outputs with non-functional binders often observed with other platforms.   

Official comments    

Anthony Pitt, Chief Technology Officer, Orbit Discovery, commented: “This Innovate UK Smart Grant will help us further cement our technical leadership in functional screening. The microfluidic platform can elevate our current functional screening capabilities from tens of thousands to millions of peptides. This throughput will help us identify rare functional binders that are typically missed with more traditional screening platforms.” 

Dr Neil Butt, Chief Executive Officer, Orbit Discovery, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Orbit to increase its commitment to R&D and create additional high value service offerings to our customers. Our current functional screening platform is market leading, and the conclusion of this work will be transformational in expanding the throughput and library size that can be screened within the platform.” 

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