Oxford, UK-based Orbit Discoveries has raised $7.6m in funding to boost its peptide drug discovery services and accelerate the growth of its business.

The latest funding round was led by Oxford Sciences Innovation, with participation from Borealis Ventures, Perivoli Innovations and other institutional and individual investors, the biopharma company said in a statement.

The funds raised will be used to accelerate Orbit’s ‘growth trajectory’ as a provider of peptide discovery services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Orbit’s technology platform enables the screening of peptide libraries for target binding and subsequent activity in cell-based functional assays.

As a result, the platform can identify active peptides against both soluble proteins and membrane bound targets such as G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

By identifying functional molecules – including those that could have agonistic or antagonist properties on disease relevant targets – the platform offers a starting point for the development of peptide, small molecule or other therapeutics.

“Orbit’s team has the right combination of scientific rigour and novel peptide technologies to lead a new generation of drug development, and we look forward to partnering with the team to advance their mission,” said Nick Dixon-Clegg, principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation.

“Orbit is creating the next wave of innovative technologies that facilitate faster and more specific therapeutic molecule discovery. We believe the ability to assess specific binding and functional screening through a single platform is a key gap in the market and offers a strong future for the company,” he added.