By Jon Hu and Samantha Dale Strasser, PhD
When we met over a decade ago as students at Northwestern University, we were struck by our similar experiences of watching our loved ones suffer from untreatable diseases and fighting our own.
Jon recounts, “when I was diagnosed with severe chronic migraines, doctors were able to find a prophylactic treatment regimen so that I could live a normal life. However, when my grandmother’s dementia worsened, there were no treatments available to her. It wasn’t right – it’s completely unfair.”
Samantha reflects on her experience with untreatable diseases, noting it “irrevocably altered my close-knit family unit of three. My father, not even out of his 50s, suffered from an untreatable neurodegenerative disease. Following the diagnosis and visits to hospitals and doctors around the country, my mother, father, and I were forced to accept that no treatment existed and he eventually passed away.”
Since sharing these personal experiences, along with extensive education in biology, engineering, and pharmaceuticals, we’ve remained dedicated to finding treatments for the millions of other patients, like our own family members, who suffer from these conditions.
The big question was how.
Introducing Pepper Bio
Over the past year, we’ve meshed our professional experiences as researchers, scientists, investors and executives to launch a company that will fundamentally change how pharma works.
This day, more than a decade after we first met, has been a long time in coming and we are proud to share our solution with you: Pepper Bio.
Pepper Bio is the world’s first transomics drug discovery company. By leveraging our proprietary transomic technology, we translate multiple levels of complex data, including genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and phosphoproteomic analysis, into meaningful, actionable insights. Leveraging our technology platform, drug developers can successfully steer their most promising therapeutic candidates through the complex development pathways by focusing on the patients most likely to benefit with minimal side effects.
Right now, the average cost of developing a new therapy is $2.6 billion, requires years if not decades of time, and because biology is complicated, over 90% of drug candidates fail to be approved. Through Pepper Bio, we’re significantly reducing these risks by helping to create faster, more efficient, and accurate data analysis. Ultimately, this leads to improved probability of success at each stage of the drug discovery process from target identification through to clinical trials.
Think of us as the “Waze for drug discovery.” While traditional R&D uses static maps, showing the route, without warning the driver about potholes, tolls, roadblocks, and nearby accidents, we’re informing teams about what’s actually going on in biology to bring greater accuracy and new hope to therapeutics research resulting in new and better treatments.
Not only are we providing innovative data solutions, but we are committed to partnering with every company our technology supports. Finding effective treatments is more than a successful business outcome for us. Our success is measured by the power of our platform to improve the lives of millions who suffer from untreatable diseases.
Where we go from here.
Having launched from stealth, we look forward to bringing new hope to drug discovery together with our partners.
Thank you to our incredible team at Pepper Bio, including our Head of Biology, Christopher Nicholson, and Head of Business Development, Caitlin Brown. Thank you as well to our supportive advisory board members, Douglas Lauffenburger, Dean Felsher, Imran Nasrullah, Tom Rush, Jerome Windsor, and Peter Hornbeck, who have provided us with invaluable guidance since we initially founded Pepper Bio.