California-based biotech firm Unnatural Products has successfully raised $32 million in a Series A funding round led by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (MGHIF) and TechBio-focused ARTIS Ventures to revolutionize drug development by leveraging its AI-driven platform to design synthetic macrocycles, ushering in a new era of molecularly targeted therapeutics.
Led by CEO Cameron Pye, UNP’s Series A financing saw participation from notable investors such as First Spark Ventures, The Venture Collective, Humain Ventures, LongeVC, and Not Boring Capital. Prem Tumkosit, Managing Director of Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, has assumed a pivotal role by joining UNP’s board of directors.
“We’re very fortunate to have the support from MGHIF and ARTIS and great new investors added to the roster in this round. This underlines our team’s hard work building a platform to accelerate this burgeoning molecular class,” said Cameron Pye, CEO and Co-Founder of Unnatural Products.
The substantial funds garnered will advance the development of UNP’s cutting-edge technology platform and diversify the company’s focus beyond oncology into promising new opportunities.
Macrocycles and Molecular Targets
At the core of UNP’s groundbreaking approach is utilizing macrocycles and cyclic peptides, unlocking the potential to broaden the scope of drug discovery. These naturally derived macrocycles offer a unique advantage, with proven medicinal applications across various indications.
“Macrocycles can be the best of both worlds – combining the binding and delivery of peptides with the oral delivery of small molecules,” said Vasudev Bailey, PhD, Managing Partner at ARTIS Ventures.
Their larger size and favorable drug-like properties enable them to target intracellular complexities that elude conventional small molecules. UNP’s innovation leverages a tandem of parallel chemistry and AI-driven processes, crafting synthetic macrocycles that emulate the potency and selectivity of antibodies in an oral dosage form.
Naturally derived macrocycles have been effective medicines for decades, addressing various medical conditions. UNP’s platform is rooted in understanding how nature’s macrocycles operate, with the company founded by pioneers in the field. The synergy of scientific expertise and cutting-edge technology positions UNP at the forefront of navigating the complexities of medicinal chemistry within the macrocycle space.
“Macrocycles are today where antibody therapeutics were a couple of decades ago. We finally have the technologies to rapidly and reproducibly find and optimize macrocycles against any given target. I believe macrocycles will be as impactful to the pharmaceutical industry as the biologics revolution of the early 2000s,” said Cameron Pye.
Global Expansion and Future Prospects
Unnatural Products, Inc. is a testament to scientific ingenuity, with a dedicated team of passionate scientists and engineers based in Santa Cruz, CA. The company’s commitment to innovation is evident in its fusion of AI and chemistry, offering a fresh perspective on molecularly targeted therapeutics.
The injection of $32 million in Series A funding not only propels UNP’s ongoing research and development but also signifies a strategic shift beyond oncology. The company plans to explore new horizons and capitalize on emerging opportunities within the biotech landscape.
“We invest in the future of drug development by attempting to solve key technical challenges, opening up a world of possibilities that will only lead to better, more targeted solutions for patients suffering from a myriad of conditions,” said Prem Tumkosit, Managing Director of MGHIF.
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