12:00 AM
Jan 10, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Unnatural Selection

Sutro Biopharma looking to build 'biosuperiors' with new CSO, fresh VC round

Since 2004 Sutro Biopharma Inc. has quietly been building a cell-free protein synthesis platform and working on early research projects with undisclosed partners. Now that it has hired a new CSO and received an injection of venture money, the company will turn to building an internal pipeline of "biosuperiors," compounds that improve upon marketed protein therapeutics.

While the idea of biosuperiors isn't new, Sutro says its biochemical protein synthesis technology will allow it to make modifications that are difficult, if not impossible, to do with cell-based synthesis systems. Last week, it announced a multiyear collaboration with Pfizer Inc. focused on peptides that have been difficult to produce using conventional technologies.

"When Sutro came along, it opened up a protein space that had been completely inaccessible to drug developers like myself. It has the ability to introduce nonnatural amino acids to bring real diversity into protein therapeutics," CSO Trevor Hallam told BioCentury.

Hallam joined Sutro in December. He has spent more than 25 years in drug discovery and development, most recently as EVP of R&D at Palatin Technologies Inc. One of Palatin's technologies allows it to develop peptides with novel amino acid mimetics in place of selected amino acids.

Sutro brings a similar ability to proteins, with a platform that allows for cell-free synthesis of whole proteins on a much larger scale than has been possible.


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