Burlingame, CA, October 17, 2013 – Biodesy, Inc., a privately held developer of novel systems to analyze real-time protein function for research and clinical applications, announced today that it has closed a $15.0 million Series A venture financing round from 5AM Ventures, Pfizer Venture Investments and Roche Venture Fund. In addition, Greg Yap has been named Chief Executive Officer and a Director.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to further develop and commercialize the first platform technology to enable real-time measurement of protein conformational change. Protein structure, including both sequence and three-dimensional shape, or conformation, determines protein function – changes in conformation cause changes in function. Existing technologies are not capable of measuring these changes with high resolution and in real time. Biodesy's second-harmonic generation (SHG) technology can identify and characterize structural changes with sub-angstrom resolution in real time and high throughput. Better understanding of changes in protein structure and function caused by potential drugs, normal molecular interactions, and disease processes will have broad impact in drug discovery, structural biology, and clinical biomarkers.
"Biodesy has the potential to help transform our understanding of how proteins work by delivering the first real-time, high-throughput system for measuring changes in protein structure caused by molecular interactions," said Andrew Schwab, Managing Partner of 5AM Ventures and a Director of Biodesy. "Greg Yap is a proven leader with a record of success in building entrepreneurial businesses, and Josh Salafsky has achieved impressive technical results that demonstrate the transformative nature of the Biodesy approach. We are excited to lead this significant Series A financing."
Prior to Biodesy, Yap was most recently the first healthcare Entrepreneur in Residence at GE. Previously he was Lifecycle Leader, Advanced Staining Assays at Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche Group, where he oversaw Ventana's US$500 million global market-leading cancer assay portfolio. He was also Chief Operating Officer at CELLective Dx, a venture-backed circulating tumor cell (CTC) company, and held multiple general management roles at microarray pioneer Affymetrix, including Vice President DNA Products and Vice President Molecular Diagnostics.
"Routine and direct measurement of changes in protein structure in real time has never been practical before," said Yap. "We believe our technology will provide unique value in multiple applications, including drug development, structural biology, and eventually personalized medicine. We have seen significant and immediate interest from pharmaceutical companies and academic thought leaders, and this financing will enable Biodesy to rapidly launch a full suite of products and systems. We are beginning to demonstrate the value of our technology through revenue-bearing collaborations and recently signed our first pharmaceutical partnership."
Joshua Salafsky, Ph.D., founder of Biodesy, has been appointed Chief Scientific Officer and a Director. Salafsky has pioneered the application of SHG technology to molecular biology and has led research to develop the company's core technology platform for the past 13 years. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Columbia University and the Department of Physics (Debye Institute) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
In addition to Schwab, Yap and Salafsky, Biodesy's Board of Directors consists of William Burkoth, Senior Director of Pfizer Ventures, and Joseph Victor, CEO of DVS Sciences.
Biodesy is developing the first products and systems to rapidly and inexpensively measure both protein structure and function in real time, with applications including drug discovery, structural biology, and clinical biomarkers. Biodesy has developed a unique and highly sensitive technology for detecting conformational change in proteins and other biological molecules. Its technology, based on a phenomenon called second-harmonic generation (SHG), can monitor structural changes at any site within a protein, in real time. Since protein function is determined by its structure, and changes in structure cause changes in function, characterizing these changes will provide significant insights into how our bodies function and respond to treatments. Biodesy is located in Burlingame, California. For more information, please visit www.biodesy.com.