Scientific Advisory Board Strengthens Atavistik Bio’s Mission of Harnessing the Power of Protein-Metabolite Interactions to add a New Lens to Drug Discovery
CAMBRIDGE, MA, September 20, 2022 — Atavistik Bio, a pre-clinical biotechnology company that is leveraging their scalable and systematic platform to identify novel regulatory sites on proteins to restore function in disease, announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of distinguished leaders in protein sciences, inborn errors of metabolism, and cancer.
“We are proud and honored to have these accomplished scientific leaders join our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Marion Dorsch, President and CSO of Atavistik Bio. “Together, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience for Atavistik Bio as we leverage our powerful screening and analytics platforms to unlock the potential of protein-metabolite interactions with the goal to bring transformative therapies to patients. Atavistik Bio looks forward to the input of these outstanding scientists and their contribution to our research and development efforts. Feedback and collaboration with our SAB will be critical to advance our efforts to develop therapies to patients in need. It is a very exciting time for all of us at Atavistik Bio.”
The founding members of the Atavistik Bio Scientific Advisory Board are:
Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis is Chief of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW (CRI). His laboratory studies the role of altered metabolic pathways in human diseases, including cancer and pediatric inborn errors of metabolism. Work from the DeBerardinis laboratory has produced new insights into disease mechanisms in numerous metabolic diseases, including by defining unexpected fuel preferences in human cancer and uncovering new metabolic vulnerabilities in cancer cells. Dr. DeBerardinis is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and has received numerous awards including the William K. Bowes, Jr. Award in Medical Genetics, the National Cancer Institute’s Outstanding Investigator Award, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas’s Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine, and the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. DeBerardinis received a BS in Biology from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia before earning MD and PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. He completed his medical residency and post-doctoral training at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Pediatrics, Medical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics.
Dr. Jared Rutter is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and holds the Dee Glen and Ida Smith Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at the University of Utah where he has been on the faculty since 2003. His laboratory has identified the functions of several previously uncharacterized mitochondrial proteins, including the discovery of the long-sought mitochondrial pyruvate carrier. This knowledge has demonstrated that this critical metabolic step is impaired in a variety of human diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition, the Rutter lab is taking multiple approaches to understand how metabolic state influences cell fate and cell behavior decisions. Dr. Rutter has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2015 and serves as co-Director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Center at the University of Utah and co-Leader of the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Dr. Rutter performed undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University and received his PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2001, working with Dr. Steve McKnight. After receiving his PhD, he spent 18 months as the Sara and Frank McKnight Independent Fellow of Biochemistry before joining the faculty at the University of Utah.
Karen Allen, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Boston University. For over 25 years, she has led research teams at Boston University, in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics at the School of Medicine, and Chemistry. She is also a Professor of Material Science and Engineering and on the faculty of the Bioinformatics program at Boston University. The structure-aided design approach in the Allen lab encompasses the use of macromolecular X-ray crystallography, small-angle X-ray scattering, molecular modeling, and kinetics.
Karen received her B.S. degree in Biology, from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University in the laboratory of the mechanistic enzymologist, Dr. Robert H. Abeles. Following her desire to see enzymes in action she pursued X-ray crystallography during postdoctoral studies as an American Cancer Society Fellow in the laboratory of Drs. Gregory A. Petsko and Dagmar Ringe.
Kivanc Birsoy, Ph.D. is a Chapman-Perelman Associate Professor at Rockefeller University. His research at Rockefeller focuses on how cancer cells rewire their metabolic pathways to adapt to environmental stresses during tumorigenesis and other pathological states. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Special Fellow award, Margaret and Herman Sokol Award, NIH Career Transition Award, Irma Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Trusts Award, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Foundation Scholar Award, March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Scholar Award, AACR NextGen award for Transformative Cancer Research, Searle Scholar, Pew-Stewart Scholarship for Cancer Research and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.
Kivanc received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Genetics from Bilkent University in Turkey in 2004 and his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University in 2009, where he studied the molecular genetics of obesity in the laboratory of Jeffrey Friedman. In 2010, he joined the laboratory of David Sabatini at the Whitehead Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he combined forward genetics and metabolomics approaches to understand how different cancer types rewire their metabolism to adapt nutrient deprived environments.
Benjamin Cravatt, Ph.D. is the Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His research group develops and applies chemical proteomic technologies for protein and drug discovery on a global scale and has particular interest in studying biochemical pathways in cancer and the nervous system. His honors include a Searle Scholar Award, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, a Cope Scholar Award, the ASBMB Merck Award, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ben is a co-founder of several biotechnology companies, including Activx Biosciences (acquired by Kyorin Pharmaceuticals), Abide Therapeutics (acquired by Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals), Vividion Therapeutics (Acquired by Bayer Pharmaceuticals), Boundless Bio, Kisbee Therapeutics, and Kojin Therapeutics.
Ben obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in the Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History. He then received a Ph.D. from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996, and joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997.
The SAB will be co-chaired by Dr. DeBerardinis and Dr. Rutter, the scientific founders of Atavistik Bio, and work closely with the company to advance their leading-edge metabolite protein screening platform discovery programs. “I’m delighted to be appointed Co-Chair of Atavistik Bio’s Scientific Advisory Board, and to be part of such a distinguished group of experts,” said Dr. DeBerardinis. “Together we aim to guide Atavistik Bio through the development of its pipeline while maximizing the potential of the company’s technology platform,” stated Dr. Rutter.
About Atavistik Bio
Atavistik Bio is a pre-clinical biotechnology company that is harnessing the power of protein-metabolite interactions to add a new lens to drug discovery with the aim of transforming the lives of patients. By leveraging its optimized Atavistik Metabolite Protein Screening (AMPS) platform and computational approaches, Atavistik Bio aims to evaluate metabolite-protein interactions by screening proteins with their proprietary metabolite library to determine where binding sites with biological relevance might exist. This will enable Atavistik Bio to build an extensive protein-metabolite database map (the “Interactome”) to reveal unique insights into the crosstalk between metabolite-protein pathways that were previously thought to be unrelated. Utilizing advanced informatics tools, deep expertise in chemistry and computationally rich structure-based drug design, Atavistik Bio will be able to identify and understand the role of these interactions across important biological and disease-relevant pathways to drive the discovery of novel therapeutics with an initial focus on inborn errors of metabolism and cancer. Atavistik Bio is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.atavistikbio.com.
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