Orbit Discovery Awarded Innovate UK Grant

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Orbit Discovery has been awarded the Innovate UK Grant to expand high throughput cell-based functional screening platform capabilities in peptide drug discovery.

Orbit Discovery, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering candidate peptide therapeutics, announced on June 13, 2022 that it had been awarded a National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant by Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation agency. Totaling £472,000 ($498,000 USD), the grant is intended to facilitate the implementation of droplet-based microfluidics for cell-based functional screening and expand the capabilities and throughput of Orbit’s peptide display platform.

The goal of Orbit’s project is to advance the discovery of peptide therapeutic candidates by improving overall process efficiency and reducing risk and associated cost. In this vein, according to a company press release, the grant funds will go toward validating the microfluidic components of Orbit’s peptide discovery platform, a next-generation microfluidic-based functional screen designed to interrogate millions of peptides in cell-based assays.

The platform is being built to directly address difficult-to-access drug targets, in particular multi-membrane spanning proteins like G-protein-coupled receptors. It aims to rapidly identify molecules that generate a therapeutically relevant functional response earlier in the drug discovery process. This will avoid polluting screening outputs with non-functional binders, as is often observed with other platforms.


“This Innovate UK [SMART] Grant will help us further cement our technical leadership in functional screening,” said Anthony Pitt, chief technology officer, Orbit Discovery, in the press release. “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.”

Source: Orbit Discovery