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Atavistik Bio Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board

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


Meriel McCaffery
Ford Hutman Media


Atavistik Bio Announces $60 Million Series A Financing to Advance Genetically-Validated Targets in Metabolic Diseases and Cancer

The Column Group led funding, joined by Lux Capital, and Nextech Invest, Ltd.
Financing to advance Atavistik’s drug discovery platform

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE) — Atavistik Bio (“Atavistik”, “Company”), a pre-clinical biotechnology company pioneering the identification of metabolite-protein interactions that have the potential to lead to the discovery and development of first-in-class drug candidates powered by distinct allosteric control mechanisms, announced today that the Company had completed a $60 million Series A financing round. The financing was led by The Column Group and joined by Lux Capital, and Nextech Invest, Ltd.

“Atavistik has positioned itself at the forefront of allosteric regulated metabolic drug discovery, a novel and exciting new area of drug discovery and medicine, that has immense potential”

The new financing will support development of Atavastik’s drug discovery platform, and future identification of select drug candidates based on deep knowledge of disease relevant pathways that have evolved over millions of years by nature to be allosterically regulated by metabolites.

The Company will be helmed by John A. Josey, PhD, Acting CEO of Atavistik Bio, who was formerly CEO at Peloton Therapeutics, which was acquired by Merck in 2019. Dr. Josey is an experienced CEO with a long track record of novel drug discovery. Marion Dorsch, PhD, has been appointed President and CSO. Dr. Dorsch is a highly accomplished scientist and senior executive with more than twenty years of biotech and pharma experience in oncology, inflammation and rare genetic diseases. She is known for her innovative drug discovery that has contributed to several accelerated drug approvals in oncology. Prior to this role, Dr. Dorsch was CSO at Blueprint Medicines.

“Our unique approach marries a validated platform with structure-aided drug design capabilities and cutting-edge insights into the regulation of metabolic systems, which will be applied to genetically validated targets in metabolic disease and cancer,” said John A. Josey, PhD, CEO of Atavistik Bio and Venture Partner at The Column Group. “We are delighted to gain the support of such an esteemed collection of venture investors in our quest to find first-in-class drug compounds in metabolic diseases and cancer.”

Atavistik was co-founded by prominent scientific investigators and members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Atavistik’s platform is built on technology developed by co-founder Jared Rutter, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. Professor Rutter is well-known for his work regarding novel protein metabolite interactions that has resulted in identification of novel allosteric regulatory sites for proteins of interest in disease. Additionally, co-founder Dr. Ralph DeBerardinis, MD, PhD is a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is a leading medical geneticist with a deep understanding of human metabolism with a focus on pediatrics. Dr. DeBerardinis still attends to patients and has a unique understanding of the high unmet need in this critical area of human health. The co-founders will stay closely involved with the scientific direction at Atavistik as advisors.

“Atavistik has a differentiated platform that has tremendous potential to identify novel regulatory sites to tackle the underlying cause of many diseases,” said Marion Dorsch, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Atavistik Bio. “Our technology was founded by a leading metabolism expert and validated by the discovery of numerous known and novel metabolite-protein interactions. We look forward to building on this technology and utilizing our drug discovery platform to identify first-in-class drug candidates.”

“Atavistik has positioned itself at the forefront of allosteric regulated metabolic drug discovery, a novel and exciting new area of drug discovery and medicine, that has immense potential,” said Tim Kutzkey, Managing Partner at The Column Group and Atavistik Bio board member. “The company is built around Marion’s drug-discovery expertise and successful track record of bringing experimental medicines to market quickly. She will be joined by a team of experts in metabolism and a robust investment syndicate that will support Atavistik’s scientific focus.”

Atavistik has opened a new office in Cambridge at 38 Sidney St. To learn more, please visit

About Atavistik Bio

Atavistik Bio (Atavistik) is a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the identification of allosteric small molecule-protein interactions that have the potential to lead to the discovery and future clinical development of first-in-class drug compounds within oncology and metabolic diseases. Atavistik was founded by prominent scientists who are considered among the leading authorities in cell biology, cancer cell biology and cell metabolism. Led by an experienced management team and advisors, plus a robust investment syndicate, Atavistik is positioned to deliver transformational science to ultimately improve patient care. Learn more at

About The Column Group

The Column Group (TCG) is a leading venture capital firm based in San Francisco that seeks to partner with exceptional scientific founders, entrepreneurs, executives, and investment organizations with a shared vision for building the next generation of drug discovery and development companies. TCG invests in disease-focused drug discovery companies with the potential to become leaders in their respective fields. These companies are strongly supported by the unique and complimentary skill sets of TCG’s team, which includes prominent authorities in the scientific, operational, and financial arenas. For more information, please visit

About Lux Capital

Lux Capital invests in emerging science and technology ventures at the outermost edges of what is possible. They partner with iconoclastic inventors challenging the status quo and the laws of nature to bring their futuristic ideas to life. Over the past two decades, Lux has expanded from its New York City roots to Silicon Valley, and built a $4 billion AUM firm of more than 30 full-time professionals, with the versatility to invest at any stage.

About Nextech Invest, Ltd.

The global oncology specialist venture capital firm Nextech Invest Ltd., established in 1998 in Zurich, Switzerland, focuses on investing in cancer companies. Supported by a Scientific Advisory Board of seven oncologists chaired by Prof. Dr. David Livingston, Deputy Director Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Nextech Invest is investing in emerging companies with pioneering innovations in cancer research that have compounds entering clinical trials. The other members of the Scientific Advisory Board are: Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Altmann, Prof. Dr. Glenn Dranoff, Prof. Dr. William Kaelin, Prof. Dr. Sir Bruce Ponder, Dr. Charles Sawyers and Prof. Dr. Paul Workman. Nextech Invest is a longstanding member of leading networks in private equity, such as EVCA, SECA and EVPA. Nextech Invest works closely with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).



Rachel Ford Hutman
Ford Hutman Media