Encycle Therapeutics : To determine the rules for making peptide drugs orally bioavailable


Competition: Quantum Leap 2014
Funding: $838,000 / 1 year
Beginning: December 2014

Encycle Therapeutics, a biotechnology company founded by Dr. Andrei Yudin of the University of Toronto is a Canadian start-up emerging as a market leader in finding molecules that can reach therapeutic targets located within cells. Today, the company works to better understand the chemical properties required by the nacellins, these small circular peptide-like molecules (also called macrocycles) to make them orally bioavailable.

This project builds on Encycle’s previous successes. In 2012, within the Ontario-Quebec Life Sciences corridor, an initial project, led by Dr. Yudin in collaboration with Dr. Éric Marsault from Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, and funded by CQDM in partnership with MaRS Innovation, launched the development of Encycle’s platform technology and has generated a library of 1,400 nacellins.

Thanks to a second funding by CQDM and MaRS Innovation, Encycle now improves its nacellins library by synthesizing new molecules that will be orally-bioavailable. The great versatility of nacellins allows them to target proteins hitherto untouchable. It is therefore not surprising that large pharmaceutical companies are interested in nacellins which they consider like being the future key-drugs for the treatment of several diseases.

Jeffrey Coull

Encycle Inc.



Andrei Yudin
University of Toronto


Spiros Liras
Vice President Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry,

Graham Simpson
Head of Therapeutic Peptide Chemistry Performance Unit (CPU),

Brandon Turunen
Project Team Leader,

Yusheng Xiong
Director, Medicinal Chemistry,