BOSTON - Apple Tree Partners (ATP), a leading life sciences venture firm, today announced the launch of Nereid Therapeutics, a company dedicated to discovering new disease treatments by applying pioneering research and technologies in biomolecular condensates. ATP created Nereid with Clifford P. Brangwynne, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Nereid commences operations with a $50 million Series A funding commitment from ATP.
Brangwynne, a biophysicist, is a pioneer of the field of biomolecular condensates—work for which he has won numerous awards, including a 2018 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant. He has discovered and elucidated the biophysical principles underlying how liquid-liquid phase separation drives the organization, material properties, function, and dysfunction of these ubiquitous structures in living cells. The Nereid drug discovery platform builds from a set of proprietary technologies, developed in the Brangwynne Lab at Princeton, that utilize advanced microscopy and computer vision to enable the precise measurement, interrogation, and control of phase separation in living mammalian cells. The platform holds promise to enable completely new approaches to discovering and developing therapeutics across a range of diseases; Nereid's near-term efforts will focus on certain cancers and neurodegenerative disorders in which pathological protein behaviors are governed or influenced by phase transitions.
"We are excited to partner with Cliff, an originator of and luminary in the fast-expanding field of condensate biophysics, to translate the vast potential of this science into new medical treatments to improve patients' lives," said Spiros Liras, Ph.D., a venture partner at ATP who will be Nereid's interim CEO. "Nereid possesses a unique suite of technologies with unmatched capabilities in phase separation, droplet visualization, and machine-learning-enabled quantitative mapping and measurement—and together these tools comprise a system well-suited to rapidly identify and study novel therapeutic interventions."
The Nereid Board of Directors chaired by Seth Harrison, M.D., ATP's founder and managing partner, includes ATP venture partner and Chief Scientific Officer Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D.; Liras; and Robert J. Hugin, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Corporation. Brangwynne will maintain a Board observer seat and will chair Nereid's Scientific Advisory Board.
Clifford Brangwynne received a B.S. (2001) in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. (2007) in Applied Physics from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems from 2007 to 2010, prior to joining the faculty of Princeton University in 2011, where he is currently a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His pioneering work on biomolecular condensates has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Macarthur Fellowship (2018), Wiley Prize (2020), Blavatnik Award (2020), and the HFSP Nakasone Award (2021).
Founded in 1999, ATP is a leader in life sciences venture capital. ATP creates companies starting with assets at various stages, from working with scientists on pre-IP ideas, to spinning out assets from existing companies. We provide flexible capital, strategic insight, and operational resources to build sustainable, research-driven enterprises that create therapies for unmet medical needs. We invest in our companies from seed stage through IPO and beyond, enabling their success with our world-class team of venture partners and EIRs. For more information, visit www.appletreepartners.com.