About Us

Our Story

At Atavistik Bio, we are harnessing the power of protein-metabolite interactions to add a new lens to drug discovery with the aim of transforming the lives of patients.

Built upon the technology platform of co-founder Dr. Jared Rutter, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah and the discoveries of Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, MD, PhD at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, our innovative approach to screen libraries of metabolites and proteins to determine binding sites of biological relevance will enable us to design and develop life changing therapies. Our work is focused on restoring protein function to correct inborn errors of metabolism, using metabolites to accelerate cancer therapeutics, and leveraging our technology and analytics platforms to expand into other disease areas.

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ATAVISM: AT/A/VISM is derived from the Latin atavus – a great-great-great grandfather or more generally, an ancestor. In biology, an atavism is ancient biological traits or processes that can reappear in subsequent generations. By interrogating how metabolites interact with proteins, we aim to understand these interactions to develop medicines that restore the activity of proteins with maladaptive mutations.
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Leadership Team

We are a team of innovative and experienced drug-hunters led by accomplished scientific leaders in the fields of metabolism, oncology, and rare genetic diseases.
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JEFF GOATER
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Interim Chief Executive Officer

Jeff Goater was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer in January 2022, coincident with the transition of John Josey to Chairman of the Board. Jeff is also a member of the Board of Directors of Atavistik Bio and a Venture Partner at The Column Group. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Surface Oncology. During his tenure at Surface, the company fostered an award-winning culture, advanced four programs into clinical development, completed its initial public offering and secured multiple strategic collaborations, including a transformative partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.  Prior to Surface, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Voyager Therapeutics where he was one of the members of the founding management team. While at Voyager, he led its crossover financing, initial public offering and strategic partnership with Sanofi Genzyme.  Previously, Jeff spent nearly a decade in investment banking, most recently as a managing director at Evercore Partners, advising on more than $100 billion in strategic transactions in the biopharma industry. He began his career as a research scientist in the field of AAV gene therapy and holds master’s degrees in microbiology/immunology (MS), pathology (MS) and business administration (MBA) from the University of Rochester.  Jeff also currently serves on the boards of Ribon Therapeutics, Surface Oncology, Vaccinex and LogicBio Therapeutics.

Interim Chief Executive Officer
Interim Chief Executive Officer
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MARION DORSCH, PhD
President and Chief Scientific Officer
President and Chief Scientific Officer

Marion Dorsch brings over 20 years of drug discovery experience in oncology, inflammation and rare genetic diseases to Atavistik Bio. She is an accomplished scientist and senior executive with a proven track record of discovering and advancing innovative therapies to patients. Most recently, Marion served as Chief Scientific Officer at Blueprint Medicines, where she led the Discovery and Translational Medicine teams and oversaw the progression of a strong portfolio of precision medicines. She joined Blueprint Medicines from Agios where she was the Vice President of Biology and responsible for novel target validation, drug discovery, and biomarker strategy across Agios’ portfolio. Prior to Agios, Marion was Director of Cancer Biology at Sanofi Oncology, Group leader in Oncology at the Novartis and part of the Inflammation group at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. During her tenure in biotech and pharma, Marion has made major contributions to the discovery and development of 6 FDA-approved precision medicines: Odomzo (SMO), Kisqali (CDK4/6), Idhifa (IDH2), Tibsovo (IDH1), Ayvakit (KIT/PDGFR) and Gavreto (RET).

Marion received her PhD in Biology from the Free University of Berlin, Germany and was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Goff at Columbia University in New York.

President and Chief Scientific Officer
President and Chief Scientific Officer
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ANINDA KATRAGADDA
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer

Aninda Katragadda is Chief Financial Officer at Atavistik Bio since February 2022. Aninda has more than 25 years of experience in finance leadership roles in the life science industry. Prior to joining Atavistik, Aninda served most recently as Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer at Akouos, where she was responsible for all finance, accounting and operations functions from the founding of the company through several private equity financings and successful initial public offering. Prior to Akouos, she held senior finance positions at Voyager Therapeutics and The Medicines Company, and has also consulted most recently at Surface Oncology and Foghorn Therapeutics.  Aninda started her biotechnology finance career at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and public accounting career at PWC.  She holds a BS in Business Administration and Accounting from University of Missouri and earned her CPA in Massachusetts.

Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer
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MARIA-JESUS BLANCO, PhD
Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences
Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences

Maria-Jesus Blanco brings over 22 years of experience in drug discovery and development working in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. Maria joined Atavistik Bio from Sage Therapeutics, where she served as Head of Chemistry and Sr. Director. Maria began her career at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis where she held positions of increasing responsibility over 17 years, including Director of Discovery Chemistry Research & Technologies. Her leadership, creativity and strategic thinking have led to impactful contributions on new chemical modalities, chemical biology, protein-protein interactions, PET ligands, translational research and small molecule therapeutics primarily in neuroscience and oncology. Maria was part of the team that discovered FDA-approved Reyvow (5-HT1F) and has actively contributed to the delivery of 14 compounds to clinical studies.

Maria obtained her BS and PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She held postdoctoral positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at University of Strasbourg, France with Nobel Laureate Prof. Sauvage. Maria has >100 scientific publications, presentations, patent and patent applications. She was elected as a member of the executive committee of the ACS National Division of Medicinal Chemistry, being the 2021-22 Program Chair. After contributing as a guest editor to the special issue Women in Medicinal Chemistry, she is currently an associate editor for ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. In 2021, she was inducted as an ACS Fellow for her lasting service to chemistry, society, and medicine.

Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences
Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences
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THOMAS RODDY, PhD
Senior Vice President, Platform
Senior Vice President, Platform

Tom Roddy has worked across many areas of the drug discovery pipeline over the past 20+ years, from pre-competitive academic collaborations to post-marketing studies. Previously, he was the Vice President of Metabolism and Proteomics at Agios Pharmaceuticals. During his tenure at Agios, he led the start of the External Innovation function. His career started at Genzyme and he has worked at several other companies such as Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Merck, and Beryllium. He is an internationally recognized analytical scientist and an accomplished scientific team builder and mentor, having led many successful biomarker, analytical, and target discovery teams. He is an author on ~80 publications in research focused on disease biology, pharmacology, and analytical sciences and has been a successful collaborator with leading global academic groups and CROs in the understanding of the mechanisms and physiology of existing and novel metabolism-based therapies. He has made translational contributions to Fabrazyme, Myozyme, Anacetrapib, Idhifa, Tibsovo, Ivosidenib, and Mitapivat.

Tom received his PhD in Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University, an MS in Chemistry from Villanova University, and a BS in Chemistry from Juniata College.

Senior Vice President, Platform
Senior Vice President, Platform
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SHOMIT SENGUPTA, PhD
Senior Director, Head of Biology
Senior Director, Head of Biology

Shomit Sengupta brings over 10 years of drug discovery experience focused on metabolism and related signaling pathways to Atavistik Bio. He is an accomplished scientist and manager with a strong publication record and experience in both early and late-stage drug development. Most recently, Shomit was an Associate Director at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where he managed teams of scientists responsible for validating new therapeutic targets and evaluating new indications for existing assets for the rare genetic disease portfolio. He joined Agios from Navitor Pharmaceuticals where he was the lead biologist from discovery to IND for a first-in-class modulator of leucine sensing for treatment-resistant depression. Prior to Navitor, Shomit worked on cell pharmacology screening efforts at the Center for the Development of Therapeutics at the Broad Institute, and the development and execution of clinical biomarker assays at Catabasis Pharmaceuticals.

Shomit received his PhD in Biology from the Whitehead Institute at MIT and did his postdoctoral training in the lab of Joan Brugge at Harvard Medical School.

Senior Director, Head of Biology
Senior Director, Head of Biology
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LINDSAY DUHAIME
Senior Director, Head of Operations
Senior Director, Head of Operations

Lindsay Duhaime is the Head of Operations at Atavistik Bio, leading all operations functions to support the business needs, innovative science, and cultural aspirations of the organization. Lindsay brings over 14 years of experience in the biotech industry, with expertise in lab operations, lab planning & design, strategic planning, finance, culture & employee engagement, and crisis management. Prior to joining Atavistik Bio, Lindsay was the Head of Operations at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research where she supported multiple global departments. Lindsay started her career as a bench scientist, involved in proteomics-based target identification and technology development. During her tenure at Novartis, she transitioned to operations where she held roles of increasing responsibility and scope, including successfully leading teams to support the evolution and strategic growth of several discovery research departments. Lindsay holds a MS in Biochemistry from The George Washington University and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire.

Senior Director, Head of Operations
Senior Director, Head of Operations

Board of Directors

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JOHN A. JOSEY, PhD
Chairman
Venture Partner, The Column Group
Chairman<br>Venture Partner, The Column Group

Dr. Josey joined The Column Group as a Venture Partner in 2020. Previously he served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Peloton Therapeutics, Inc., from 2013 until its acquisition by Merck in 2019. He joined Peloton in 2011 as the first employee in the role of President and Chief Scientific Officer. For over thirteen years, Dr. Josey was employed at Array BioPharma Inc., a company that he helped to build as a member of the founding management team. There he rose to Vice President of Discovery Chemistry. Dr. Josey’s previous experience also includes Amgen, Inc. and the Glaxo Research Institute. He received a BS degree in chemistry from Colorado State University, a PhD in organic chemistry from The University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from the University of Colorado. He was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

Board of Directors: Atavistik Bio, Inc. (Chair); Circle Pharma, Inc. (Chair); Day One Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.; Nura Bio, Inc; VHL Alliance

Chairman<br>Venture Partner, The Column Group
Chairman
Venture Partner, The Column Group
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JEFF GOATER
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Venture Partner, The Column Group
Interim Chief Executive Officer<br>Venture Partner, The Column Group

Jeff Goater was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer in January 2022, coincident with the transition of John Josey to Chairman of the Board. Jeff is also a member of the Board of Directors of Atavistik Bio and a Venture Partner at The Column Group. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Surface Oncology. During his tenure at Surface, the company fostered an award-winning culture, advanced four programs into clinical development, completed its initial public offering and secured multiple strategic collaborations, including a transformative partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.  Prior to Surface, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Voyager Therapeutics where he was one of the members of the founding management team. While at Voyager, he led its crossover financing, initial public offering and strategic partnership with Sanofi Genzyme.  Previously, Jeff spent nearly a decade in investment banking, most recently as a managing director at Evercore Partners, advising on more than $100 billion in strategic transactions in the biopharma industry. He began his career as a research scientist in the field of AAV gene therapy and holds master’s degrees in microbiology/immunology (MS), pathology (MS) and business administration (MBA) from the University of Rochester.  Jeff also currently serves on the boards of Ribon Therapeutics, Surface Oncology, Vaccinex and LogicBio Therapeutics.

Interim Chief Executive Officer<br>Venture Partner, The Column Group
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Venture Partner, The Column Group
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HELEN HOBBS, MD
HHMI Investigator
UTSW Medical Center
HHMI Investigator<br>UTSW Medical Center

Helen H. Hobbs is a physician-scientist and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas Texas. After attending Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School, she trained in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian and UTSW. She joined the faculty of UTSW in 1987 where she is Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics. Together with Jonathan C. Cohen, she identified new sequence variations/genes contributing to differences in plasma lipid levels, which led to the development of two new lipid-lowering therapies for the prevention of heart attacks. She also has identified the first and most important genetic difference contributing to susceptibility to fatty liver disease. Gene identification is just the starting point for her studies. She has performed functional studies to elucidate the pathways and processes that are altered by the defective genes she has identified. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is on the board of Pfizer Inc. and a Science Partner of the Column Group. Among the prizes she has received are the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Grand Prix Award from the Institute of France, and the Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine.

HHMI Investigator<br>UTSW Medical Center
HHMI Investigator
UTSW Medical Center
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JOSH WOLFE
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lux Capital
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lux Capital

Josh co-founded Lux Capital to support scientists and entrepreneurs who pursue counter-conventional solutions to the most vexing puzzles of our time in order to lead us into a brighter future. The more ambitious the project, the better—like, say, creating matter from light.

Josh is a Director at Shapeways, Strateos, Lux Research, Kallyope, CTRL-labs, Variant, and Varda, and helped lead the firm’s investments in Anduril, Planet, Echodyne, Clarifai, Authorea, Resilience and Hadrian. He is a founding investor and board member with Bill Gates in Kymeta, making cutting-edge antennas for high-speed global satellite and space communications. Josh is a Westinghouse semi-finalist and published scientist. He previously worked in investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney and in capital markets at Merrill Lynch. In 2008 Josh co-founded and funded Kurion, a contrarian bet in the unlikely business of using advanced robotics and state-of-the-art engineering and chemistry to clean up nuclear waste. It was an unmet, inevitable need with no solution in sight. The company was among the first responders to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In February 2016, Veolia acquired Kurion for nearly $400 million—34 times Lux’s total investment.

Josh is a columnist with Forbes and Editor for the Forbes/Wolfe Emerging Tech Report. He has been invited to The White House and Capitol Hill to advise on nanotechnology and emerging technologies, and a lecturer at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia and NYU. He is a term member at The Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of Coney Island Prep charter school, where he grew up in Brooklyn. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Economics and Finance.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lux Capital
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lux Capital
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THILO SCHROEDER, PhD
Partner, Nextech Invest
Partner, Nextech Invest

Thilo Schroeder is a Partner at Nextech Invest and has a passion for precision medicines in cancer with a focus on identifying first and best-in-class targeted therapies.

Thilo has been a leading investor in several precision medicine oncology companies and is a board member of Revolution Medicines (RVMD), PMV Pharma (PMVP), Circle Pharma, Atavistik Bio, MOMA Therapeutics, Silverback Therapeutics (SBTX), Exo Therapeutics and Alterome Therapeutics. Past board seats include Blueprint Medicines (BPMC), Peloton Therapeutics (acquired by Merck), Black Diamond Therapeutics (BDTX), IDEAYA Bioscience (IDYA) and ImaginAb.

Thilo began his biotech career at the pioneering cancer immunology company Micromet (acquired by Amgen) while studying at Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg, conducted research at the University of Sydney and obtained his PhD from the University of Zurich, focused on protein engineering in the development of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins (DARPins), a technology now commercialized by Molecular Partners (SWX:MOLN). He also holds a MS in biotechnology from the Ecole de Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg in France, and a BS in biology from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany.

Partner, Nextech Invest
Partner, Nextech Invest

Scientific Advisory Board

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RALPH DEBERARDINIS, MD, PhD
Professor, Children’s Research Institute, HHMI Investigator, UTSW Medical Center

Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2008 and joined the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UTSW (CRI) shortly after its founding in 2012. He is Chief of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at UTSW and Director of the Genetic and Metabolic Disease Program at CRI. 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’ laboratory studies the role of altered metabolic pathways in human diseases, including cancer and pediatric inborn errors of metabolism. The lab has pioneered the use of metabolomics and isotope tracing to characterize disease-associated metabolic states directly in patients, and to use disease-relevant model systems to explore how metabolic perturbations contributes to tissue dysfunction. 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 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 post-graduate clinical training at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Pediatrics, Medical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics. Before coming to UT Southwestern, he performed postdoctoral research at the Penn Cancer Center.

Professor, Children’s Research Institute, HHMI Investigator, UTSW Medical Center
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JARED RUTTER, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah, HHMI Investigator

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. He has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2015. 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.

The Rutter laboratory has characterized the PAS kinase protein as an important factor in states of metabolic dysregulation—including obesity and diabetes. More recently, the Rutter laboratory and collaborators have identified the functions of several previously uncharacterized mitochondrial proteins, including the discovery of the long-sought mitochondrial pyruvate carrier. This knowledge has now enabled for the first time the demonstration 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 is actively involved in translating academic discoveries into therapies for patients. This has included founding and/or serving as a consultant or member of the advisory board of several companies. Dr. Rutter also 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.

Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah, HHMI Investigator
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KAREN ALLEN, PhD
Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Boston University, Enzymology, Structure Biology

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, bioinformatics, 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.

Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Boston University, Enzymology, Structure Biology
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KIVANC BIRSOY, PhD
Associate Professor, Rockefeller University, Cellular Metabolism and Genetics

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 the environmental stress conditions during tumorigenesis. He also used similar approaches to study how mitochondrial dysfunction influences cellular metabolism. 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 molecular genetics of obesity in the laboratory of Jeffrey Friedman. At the Whitehead Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he combined forward genetics and metabolomics approaches to understand how different cancer types rewire their metabolism to adapt nutrient deprived environments.

Associate Professor, Rockefeller University, Cellular Metabolism and Genetics
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BENJAMIN CRAVATT, PhD
Professor and Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

Benjamin Cravatt, PhD 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 BS in the Biological Sciences and a BA in History. He then received a PhD from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996, and joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997.

Professor and Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute