OMass Therapeutics: Creating groundbreaking treatments
At ARC, we’re proud to provide the foundations for innovation to happen. That’s why our 88-acre state-of-the-art campus is now home to a growing number of science and technology businesses – including one of our newest members, OMass Therapeutics.
Like many of our other member businesses, OMass is a spin-out from the University of Oxford. The company specialises in developing treatments for rare immunological and genetic diseases with severe unmet patient need, using new small molecule drug discovery technologies to identify and develop new medicines.
In 2022, OMass was awarded a $100 million investment from an international syndicate, to progress its drug pipeline of small molecule therapeutics, using its proprietary OdyssIONTM drug discovery platform. To help their team achieve their goals, the company decided to move into lab and office space at the ARC Oxford campus in spring 2023.
About OMass Therapeutics
OMass spun out from the University of Oxford in 2016 and was originally established as OMass Technologies. The company’s initial work focused on the study of proteins in the cell membrane using novel mass spectrometry approaches. A funding award from the Government’s Innovate UK Competition enabled them to further develop their prototype small molecule drug discovery platform, which later became OdyssIONTM.
After a subsequent investment from FTSE 250 company, Syncona, in 2018, OMass changed direction from working with third parties towards using its technology to develop its own drug treatments in-house. It relaunched as OMass Therapeutics with a new emphasis on developing treatments for a range of rare immunological and genetic diseases.
The company started out with just three full-time staff in 2016 and now employs over 40 people. The team includes chemists, computational scientists, pharmacologists, biochemists and support staff, based at ARC Oxford and a second site at BioCity Nottingham, which specialises in cell-based systems used to assess factors in healthy and diseased cells.
The OMass Therapeutics drug pipeline
Currently, OMass is progressing five programs which aim to develop small molecule therapeutics discovered using their OdyssIONTM platform. Using novel biochemistry techniques, native mass spectrometry and custom chemistry, OMass are identifying and progressing new medicines to treat patients with rare conditions and diseases that don’t tend to respond to medicines and therapies already on the market.
Some of the conditions being targeted are classed as ‘orphan diseases.’ This means they are so rare that support and resources for discovering treatments aren’t generally made available as a matter of course, e.g., through NHS funding, so specialist investment is required.
The range of rare and genetic conditions OMass hopes to treat using their new therapies includes endocrine disorders, broad immunological conditions, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), lupus and related conditions, and epilepsy including rare epilepsy disorders. You can see their progress to date against each of their five programs below:
Advantages of the OMass drug discovery platform
OMass’s proprietary platform offers a number of advantages over traditional methods of small molecule drug discovery. The latter tend to focus on target proteins that operate in relative isolation, such as enzymes, whilst many of the best targets – Solute Carriers, GPCRs, Inflammasome and so on – operate within a membrane or an intracellular complex.
Previously, this has sometimes led to a disconnect between what is measured and the drug’s action, resulting in false leads and missed opportunities. The OMass platform’s proprietary biochemistry and patented mass spectrometry, along with the use of custom chemistry, mean that OMass can go after the best targets with greatly increased accuracy. This enables the company to design drugs that interact with target proteins in the desired specific ways, so that more effective treatments for patients with severe unmet need can be created.
You can find out more by watching this short video about the OdyssIONTM platform and browsing the Omass Therapeutics website.
OMass Therapeutics at ARC Oxford
When OMass were awarded their $100 million investor funding in 2022, they wanted to move into new lab and office space that would help them achieve their research and technological development goals. Like many other spin outs from the University of Oxford, they found what they were looking for here at ARC Oxford. Their team now has the benefit of 16,389 square feet of dedicated lab and office space, that’s been designed and built to meet their precise needs.
OMass have joined around 90 other life science organisations which form part of our ever-growing community of innovators here at ARC Oxford. Like all the 3,500 members at our 88-acre campus, the OMass team enjoy access to a wide range of facilities on top of their best-in-class work space.
These include Oxford Works, a campus hub with break-out spaces, a cafe, and bookable meeting rooms; a cycle workshop; a health and fitness club; a nursery; onsite hotel and more. Our members also benefit from a packed event programme of seminars, science festivals, away days, design sprints and socials, as well as the support of our Community and Events team. A handy smartphone app, ARC Life, makes it fast and easy to book services and facilities, access information, enter competitions and take advantage of exclusive discounts.
A new member initiative, launched in March 2023, is access to subsidised places on the respected Transform Together programme for CEOs and executives of innovation scale-up companies. Created and delivered by Horizon 37, the six-month programme brings 10 to 15 business leaders together with experienced coaches to develop and enhance their approach to leadership, and help them fulfil and achieve their goals.
An extra benefit for all ARC members is that they can access meeting and co-working spaces at any of our campuses.
ARC Oxford: part of a fast-growing network
ARC Oxford is part of the ARC network which includes campuses in Hammersmith, Uxbridge and Harwell. ARC is already home to over 300 leading science and innovation organisations and over 10,000 employees across the four campuses.
To help meeting increasing demand for lab space in Oxford, ARC is investing over £1 billion in expanding the ARC Oxford and Harwell campuses. ARC’s growth strategy reflects the need for high-quality innovation space and could see our current 600,000 square foot ARC Oxford campus double in size as we bring in new laboratories, offices, amenities and cutting-edge R&D facilities.
To find out more about the properties we currently have available at ARC Oxford, and how your company could benefit from joining our vibrant community of innovators, please visit www.arcgroup.io/oxford.