Glyphic Biotechnologies raises $6M to accelerate protein sequencing by orders of magnitude ' TechCrunch

DeepMind may have made the human proteome available for browsing, but biotech is at the cutting edge of new protein production and testing, which can be complex and time-consuming. Glyphic Biotechnologies speeds up the crucial but slow sequencing step, potentially reducing drug development times by a significant amount. The startup has just raised $6 million to bring its innovative solution to market.Many new products and treatments are based on proteins. The infinitely diverse and ubiquitous chains of amino acid twist into shapes that interact and interact with cells, substances, and other proteins. They do everything, from interpreting DNA to controlling access in secure areas (sorry no potassium).Proteins are a huge area of potential in the world of biotech and drug discovery. The right protein could be used to kill cancer cells, promote natural healing, or even create new drugs. It is difficult to find and test novel molecules. A big part of this is sequencing. This confirms the exact composition of the protein you are trying to test.There are many large companies that are doing well in the world of protein discovery. The process involves identifying an amino acid at the end, cutting it off, and then identifying the next one.This approach has the drawback that the protein shape or molecular properties the next amino acids in line could interfere with the binding to and identification of the one at the end. This results in a degree of uncertainty and unreliability.Glyphic Biotechnologies adds a step that allows the target amino acids to be detached first, and then tethered using ClickP (a new molecule created by one of the cofounders). It is much simpler to identify a single, stationary amino acid attached with a known molecule. Once that's done, the process continues as before.Although it is only briefly stated, the advancements are significant. The current techniques used in antibody discovery produce and inspect thousands of proteins per week on a very expensive machine. Although it sounds huge, the number of proteins in the world is so large that this machine can only produce a small fraction. This rate isn't enough to satisfy demand even if it runs 24/7.ClickP and single-molecule microscopic microscopy (like the one used by Illumina DNA sequencing giant) should allow Glyphics to reach millions to tens to millions of people per week. It could even climb to billions. Even at the most conservative estimates, you are talking about orders-of-magnitude in improvement. However, the tens of thousands of other techniques also include lots of repeat or junk information due their use of B cells to produce the antibodies.ClickP is able to avoid interference from next amino acids in the chain and has a much higher level of specificity. You wouldn't be sequencing 100 or 1000 proteins; you would be much more certain about the results.Glyphic would initially be responsible for processing samples that were sent to them. However, their technology could eventually live in other labs like their competitors. The current plan is to move from support and service to hardware sales, and then on to support.Glyphic, if everything goes as planned, could become the standard for protein sequencing in biotech. This is just as the demand rises in the biotech industry. It will take a little longer to develop, however, so it is worth the extra time spent in incubator.They were co-founders Joshua Yang (CEO), and Daniel Estandian, (CTO), at the lab of MITs Ed Boyden (on team as scientific founder).Yang stated that the only thing standing between them and industry dominance is chemical engineering.My co-founder [Estandian] developed ClickP himself. He explained to me that the chemistry works. We didn't create all the binders because we were a spinout from an academic lab. It would have been too costly. This is not an off-the shelf molecule.These binders work in the same way as adapters, making it possible to make each of the 20 amino acid compounds work. They are expensive and time-consuming to create so they started with just a few to demonstrate the process before raising the funds to buy more. Yang said that it is really about spending the time to get them there.This seed round of $6.025 million should fund the company's early stages as it builds its platform. The round was led by OMX Ventures (which had previously invested in Twist Bioscience and 10X Genomics), and included participation from Osage University Partners and Wing VC. Artis Ventures and Cantos Ventures were also involved. Civilization Ventures and Axial VC were also part of it. Trevor Martin, Mammoth Biosciences CEO, was an angel investor.Bakar Labs will be Glyphic's first home. This is a newly opened Berkeley biotech incubator. It will be there until it is ready for the next step. This could be hardware manufacturing next year, if an A round is raised. The company's first paid service should be in 2022. The antibody market is just the beginning.Josh explained that antibodies are only a starting point. There are many applications that can benefit from protein sequencing. Josh shared this information with us in an email. Another high value area is in industrial biotechnology, where protein-sequencing-based screening of evolved enzymes can help identify enhanced or novel functions (e.g., better laundry detergents, waste-water treatment). The development of diagnostic tests could also be beneficial because the more proteins that you sequence and identify in a set of samples, the greater chance you have of identifying rare but important biomarkers or developing a panel of biomarkers that can predict and detect disease.Yang stated that Glyphic might seem like an ideal target for one of the larger, more well-off competitors. However, they are confident enough to ride it out.This space is exploding with activity. My co-founder and me really want to become the next Illumina or 10XGenomics. We really want to be the leader in proteomics.