Phenotypeca wins a third grant from Innovate UK

January 2022

Phenotypeca has been awarded its third prestigious Smart grant from Innovate UK worth a total value of £405,794. The project aims to improve the general utility of Phenotypeca yeasts for "secreted" proteins, which represent the largest market opportunity. Phenotypeca will enhance protein folding performance and reduce proteolysis for secreted proteins to create a best-in-class system for these high-value products, whilst simultaneously solving a problem for multiple UK SMEs, including project partner Isogenica. 

Isogenica have historically used E. coli to express immunotherapeutic VHH antibodies. However, E. coli's inability to perform post-translational modifications often prevents optimal discovery and production processes.  Isogenica are keen to access the advantages of Phenotypeca's platform, which will validate both companies' technologies by optimising high-level secretion of correctly folded VHHs. It will also deploy yeast-display for VHHs to accelerate drug candidate selection, while identifying novel multivalent VHH constructs for cancer therapy products and providing yeast strains for commercial manufacture.

Phenotypeca’s key objective is to create novel S. cerevisiae strains tailored for secreting protease-sensitive proteins and fully develop the PhenoDev™ platform. This enables protein-folding and proteolysis challenges to be rapidly solved for any secreted product, through a novel combination of breeding and targeted engineering.  Genomic sequencing of the new strains can also be used to discover valuable intellectual property, because this aspect of genome optimisation has not been fully characterised for therapeutic antibody products, such as VHHs. 

This is the third project that Phenotypeca has received funding for from Innovate UK. Phenotypeca has used private seed investment and commercial projects to create over one billion novel baker’s strains ready for therapeutic protein product development to make medicines more accessible to those who need them.