A-Alpha Bio Secures $20M Series A Financing to Accelerate Drug Discovery by Measuring Protein-Protein Interactions at Scale

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Data from the company’s proprietary AlphaSeq platform accelerates antibody discovery and identification of molecular glue targets.

When it comes to measuring protein-protein interactions and assisting pharma in the discovery of antibodies and molecular-glue targets, A-Alpha Bio's AlphaSeq platform is unmatched. AlphaSeq is enabling pharma companies to find the high-value needles in the haystack.

A-Alpha Bio, a biotechnology company that works with pharmaceutical industry partners to accelerate drug discovery with massively multiplexed measurements of protein interactions, today announced that it has closed a $20M Series A Financing Round to dramatically expand capabilities and throughput. The round was led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Perceptive Advisors’ Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund (PXV Fund) and Lux Capital. Madrona Venture Group’s Matt McIlwain and Xontogeny’s Ben Askew, Ph.D. have joined A-Alpha Bio’s Board of Directors as part of the financing.

A-Alpha Bio is building a high-resolution model of biology by measuring millions of protein-protein interactions, leveraging the intersection of synthetic biology, protein engineering, and machine learning. Compared to traditional technologies for screening protein interactions, including biophysical and display platforms, A-Alpha Bio’s proprietary AlphaSeq platform is able to measure protein interactions at a scale and to a degree of precision that is otherwise inaccessible. The quantity and quality of AlphaSeq data is ideal for drug discovery and also critical for training highly predictive ML-models for protein-protein binding.

“Understanding and characterizing protein-protein interactions is fundamental to the future of drug discovery and development and we are excited to back this impressive team that is at the intersection of innovation – bringing together life and computer sciences to uncover previously inaccessible discoveries,” said Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Ventures Group. “We have been impressed by the traction David and the team have made since we invested in the seed round and believe they are well on their way to helping to develop treatments for diseases and create a data advantage that could change the future of antibody and small molecule discovery.”

A-Alpha Bio will deploy the new capital announced today to build a new production laboratory, generate the largest ever database of protein interaction measurements, and fill key roles in their rapidly growing team. These investments will enhance the company’s partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies to discover new drugs – with a focus on antibodies and molecular glues. With a massive and ever-growing protein interaction data asset, A-Alpha Bio also plans to expand their machine-learning capabilities to uncover the complex rules of protein binding and enable in silico modeling of complex protein interaction networks.

“Our mission is to improve human health by accelerating drug discovery with synthetic biology and machine learning. I’m incredibly proud of the phenomenal team we’ve built and the impactful work we’ve already accomplished with leading pharma and biotech partners,” said Dr. David Younger, Co-Founder and CEO of A-Alpha Bio. “Our Series A investors share our vision and optimism for the future of medicine. I’m especially delighted to welcome Matt McIlwain and Ben Askew as Board Members who bring decades of experience building high-impact companies across the technology and pharmaceutical industries.”

Protein interactions are central to antibody and small-molecule drugs, and AlphaSeq represents the first high-throughput and quantitative approach for measuring protein-protein binding. By leveraging AlphaSeq, partners have been able to accelerate antibody discovery by measuring millions of interactions between antibodies and antigens for high-throughput determination of properties like affinity, specificity, cross-reactivity, and epitope. Instead of narrowly funnelling an antibody library and characterizing the few strongest binders, AlphaSeq allows partners to maintain a wide funnel with thousands of antibodies to avoid missing therapeutic candidates with unique and desirable properties. AlphaSeq is also leveraged for molecular glue target discovery by measuring weak and likely druggable interactions between a library of E3 ubiquitin ligases and a library of neo-substrates.

“When it comes to measuring protein-protein interactions and assisting pharma in the discovery of antibodies and molecular-glue targets, AlphaSeq is unmatched,” said Ben Askew Ph.D., Partner, PXV Fund. “AlphaSeq is enabling pharma companies to find the high-value needles in the haystack, a process so prohibitively expensive, rare, or slow that these opportunities might have never been found. We’re thrilled to support A-Alpha Bio’s next phase of growth as they continue to set new standards for protein and molecular glue research.”

To date, A-Alpha Bio has worked with a number of partners across the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to advance drug discovery, ranging from mid-sized biotechs to top-ten pharma. Additionally, A-Alpha Bio has ongoing awards from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the discovery of therapeutics for infectious diseases and the National Science Foundation to support molecular-glue target discovery and ML-guided antibody discovery.

To learn more, please visit: - https://www.aalphabio.com/.

About A-Alpha Bio
A-Alpha Bio leverages synthetic biology to quantitatively measure millions of protein-protein interactions and machine learning to generate high-resolution models of protein binding and interaction networks.

The company has developed a proprietary platform technology, called AlphaSeq, that uses genetically engineered yeast cells to experimentally measure millions of protein-protein interaction affinities simultaneously at a library-on-library scale, generating enormous amounts of data to inform the discovery and development of potent, specific, and cross-reactive drugs.

A-Alpha Bio was founded in 2017 by a team of synthetic biologists from the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design and Center for Synthetic Biology.

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Tony Fassi
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