Sutro’s protein-synthesis technology reportedly gets around hurdles associated with conventional methods.

Sutro Biopharma inked a multiyear deal with Pfizer focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of peptide-based therapeutics. Sutro says the deal is its first major collaboration. It will receive an up-front payment and research funding from Pfizer and could be eligible for future product development milestones and sales royalties.

“This partnership gives Pfizer access to peptides that have been difficult to produce using conventional technologies,” comments Jaume Pons, Ph.D., vp and CSO at Pfizer’s Rinat subsidiary. “Sutro’s open biochemical protein-synthesis technology platform potentially resolves many of the problems inherent in other approaches.”

Founded in 2003, South San Francisco-based Sutro is focused on the development of protein therapeutics and biosuperiors with site-directed modifications including the incorporation of non-natural amino acids. The firm claims its fully scalable biochemical protein-synthesis technology enables the rapid identification and production of protein therapeutics that cannot be generated using conventional methods.

Sutro is exploiting its technology through a dual approach that combines rational protein design with the use of focused libraries of non-natural amino acids to identify protein therapeutics with improved properties. The firm suggests its technology platform will facilitate the development of biosuperiors with enhanced pharmacological properties including improved safety profiles, longer half-life, and enhanced activity. Importantly, the technology has been designed to promote proper protein folding by optimizing synthesis and the chemical and physical environment to maintain homeostasis throughout the expression process, Sutro adds. The open architecture of the system also allows the addition of exogenous chemical species and catalysts, where required, to promote correct protein folding.

During November 2010 Sutro announced raising $36.5 million in a Series C financing round to support the development of both its biotherapeutics pipeline and its biochemical protein-synthesis platform.

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