CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, BOSTON, Mass. March 4, 2022 – Wren Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the appointment of Bart Henderson as Chief Executive Officer. Wren’s unique drug discovery platform harnesses advances in the biophysics of protein assembly dynamics to target the toxic fleeting protein intermediates, the oligomers, in neurodegenerative disease pathways, and discover small molecules that can block their generation with precision.

Bart brings broad leadership experience in the biotechnology industry as a founder and co-founder of several companies including Torque (now Repertoire Immune Medicines), Rhythm (Nasdaq: RYTM) and its subsidiary Motus (acquired by Allergan) and has been an operating partner at Flagship Pioneering as well as an entrepreneur-in-residence at MPM Capital. He joins Wren at a time of significant advancement of its two lead programs targeting amyloid-β for Alzheimer’s disease and α-synuclein for Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies.

Kelly Martin, Chairman of the Board, commented:

On behalf of the Board of Directors and our investors, I want to thank Dr. Samuel Cohen, scientific co-founder and founding CEO of Wren, for his many exceptional contributions to the company. Wren has made substantive progress under his leadership, advancing the drug discovery platform and pipeline, establishing our first discovery collaboration, and bringing together a world-class team and group of investors. Sam will continue to contribute to the Company’s future direction as a member of the board of directors.

As we pivot toward the future, I enthusiastically welcome Bart to the Wren team as our next CEO. We are fortunate to have a leader with such an outstanding and unique track record for creating value and advancing companies. His leadership will be a huge asset for the company as we expand and advance our pipeline into the clinic.

Bart Henderson Chief Executive Officer of Wren, commented:

I am excited and highly energized to lead and work alongside this outstanding team at Wren and to build on what has already been accomplished with the Company’s proprietary technology platform for previously intractable diseases. This technology has the ability to deliver unparalleled predictive capability for creating breakthrough drugs for major neurologic and other diseases that involve protein aggregation—a dynamic and complex biophysical process that is beyond the reach of conventional drug discovery approaches.

About Wren

Wren is a biopharmaceutical company transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases, targeting the fleeting protein intermediates central to many disease pathways that are beyond the reach of conventional drug discovery approaches. We have built a unique drug discovery platform to assay and target the transient protein intermediates in these disease pathways, the oligomers, to interrupt the molecular mechanisms that are the source of oligomer generation with small molecule therapeutics. We are focusing this platform first on two of the greatest unmet medical needs of our time: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. For more information, please visit: www.wrentherapeutics.com

Contact:

Wren Therapeutics
Emer Reynolds
communications@wrentherapeutics.com

  • Participation from both existing and new investors
  • Total capital raised for company to date: c. £33 million (c. $45 million)
  • Capital utilised to accelerate lead programs: amyloid-β and α-synuclein
  • Company to nominate lead clinical amyloid-β candidate in Q1, 2021
  • α-synuclein being advanced in collaboration with Eisai Co., Ltd
  • Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach and Mr. Owen Hughes appointed to Board
  • Talent added at senior management level
  • Company to progress additional high-value targets: IAPP, tau & TDP-43
  • Initiated application of the kinetics platform to Oncology

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, January 25 2021 – Wren Therapeutics Ltd., (“Wren”), a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a unique network kinetics approach to drug discovery for protein misfolding diseases, today announced the closing of a £12.4 million (c. $17.0 million) financing.

This financing brings the total capital raised to date to approximately £33 million (c. $45 million). The financing was led by existing shareholder The Baupost Group, with participation from existing investors including LifeForce Capital and new investors including Schooner Capital and Industry Ventures.

Dr. Samuel Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of Wren, commented:

This support from both our existing as well as our new shareholders will accelerate the advancement of our two lead small molecule programs towards the clinic for the potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and various synucleinopathies including Parkinson’s disease.

The new capital, alongside our recently announced collaboration with Eisai, is a further endorsement of our unique chemical kinetics platform that has been industrialised by the Wren team over the previous four years, building on more than a decade of prior academic research. Our mission is to radically advance drug discovery for a wide range of protein misfolding diseases by creating molecules that will offer transformative therapeutic options for millions of patients globally suffering from these increasingly common medical disorders.

Progress in advancing the platform

Selected highlights include:

  • Advanced lead small molecule programs targeting amyloid-β and α-synuclein, with first clinical candidate for amyloid-β in Q1 2021
  • Announced research collaboration with Eisai Co., Ltd for α-synuclein
  • Expanded the pipeline to three additional targets: IAPP for diabetes; tau for Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies; and TDP-43 for motor neurone disease
  • Publication in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, co-authored by Wren’s scientific founders and senior Biogen scientists, demonstrating the predictive capability of Wren’s chemical kinetics in assessing clinical-stage molecules for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Added new disease area of Oncology with discovery work underway

Board of Directors Expanded and Senior Management Strengthened

Wren has expanded its Board of directors and strengthened its leadership team.

Board appointments include Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach and Mr. Owen Hughes. Dr. von Eschenbach is the former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), and currently serves as president of Samaritan Health Initiatives Inc., and is a senior fellow at the Milken Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center. Dr. von Eschenbach serves on the Board of Bausch Health (NYSE:BHC; TSX:BHC), Celularity Inc., and Radius Health (NASDAQ: RDUS).

Mr. Owen Hughes is Chief Executive Officer of Cullinan Management, Inc. (NASDAQ:CGEM) and serves as an advisor to MPM Capital. The biographies for both directors are listed below. These board appointments complement the existing Board.

In addition, the company has also significantly expanded its scientific and business operations team including the appointment of Dr. Alleyn Plowright to the position of Head of Translational Science and Pre-Clinical Development. Prior to this, Alleyn held the positions of Head, Integrated Drug Discovery with Sanofi (Germany) and Senior Principal Scientist at AstraZeneca.

About New Board Directors

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., currently serves as president of Samaritan
Health Initiatives Inc. and as a senior fellow at the Milken Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Dr. von Eschenbach was appointed Acting Commissioner of the U.S. FDA in 2005, was later confirmed by the Senate as Commissioner in 2006 and held this role until 2009. Prior to that, he served as director of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2006. Dr. von Eschenbach also previously served as a physician, surgeon, oncologist and executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1976 until 2002, and since 2009, he has continued to serve as an adjunct professor. Dr. von Eschenbach is an internationally renowned cancer specialist and the author of
more than 300 scientific articles on cancer and medical topics.

Dr. von Eschenbach earned a B.S. from St. Joseph’s University and a M.D. from Georgetown University. Dr. von Eschenbach is a director of Bausch Health (NYSE:BHC; TSX:BHC), Celularity Inc., and Radius Health (NASDAQ: RDUS) and is a member of the Board of the Reagan Udall Foundation of the US FDA .

Owen Hughes is the Chief Executive Officer of Cullinan Management, Inc. (NASDAQ:CGEM).

Prior to joining Cullinan Oncology, Owen served as the Chief Business Officer and Head of Corporate Development at Intarcia Therapeutics. Previously, Owen served as a Director of Brookside Capital, under the Bain Capital umbrella, managing public and private healthcare investments. Prior to his tenure at Brookside, he was Senior Portfolio Manager at Pyramis Global Advisors, a Fidelity Investments Company. Owen has more than 18 years of Wall Street experience, on both the buy and sell sides. Owen received his B.A. from
Dartmouth College.

Owen currently serves as an advisor to MPM Capital, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Radius Health (NASDAQ: RDUS) and a member of the board of Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO).

About Wren

Wren is a spin-off company from the University of Cambridge (UK) and Lund University (Sweden), focused on drug discovery and development for protein misfolding diseases. Wren is advancing an entirely novel approach to address this class of diseases, based on more than a decade of research from its scientific founders focused on the chemical kinetics of the protein misfolding process. Wren’s predictive, quantitative platform is built on concepts from the physical sciences and is a fundamental shift from the descriptive, qualitative methods of traditional biology, which have failed to successfully address these complex
systems. Wren is using its unique approach to develop a broad pipeline of therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases. For more information on Wren, please visit: www.wrentherapeutics.com

Contact:

Wren Therapeutics – Emer Reynolds, communications@wrentherapeutics.com

This collaboration aims to develop a disease modifying treatment for synucleinopathies based on network kinetics of α-synuclein misfolding and aggregation

TOKYO & CAMBRIDGE, England, November 30, 2020 – Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) and Wren Therapeutics Ltd. (Headquarters: Cambridge, UK, “Wren”) today announced that the companies have entered into an exclusive research collaboration agreement aiming to advance the discovery of novel small molecules that target α-synuclein for the potential treatment of synucleinopathies including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Wren possesses a novel network kinetics drug discovery platform that precisely quantifies the effects of small molecules on the protein misfolding and aggregation pathway that causes neurodegenerative diseases. Wren’s approach to synucleinopathies is focused on identifying novel small molecules that selectively control the aggregation process of α-synuclein, which is associated with the onset and progression of these diseases. The collaboration will use Wren’s network kinetics drug discovery platform, alongside Eisai’s extensive experience in drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders, to accelerate the development of clinical candidates.

Dr. Samuel Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of Wren, commented:

We are delighted to have formed this collaboration with Eisai, a company with a distinguished track record and company-wide commitment to providing innovative treatments for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

We believe that by combining our unique, predictive and quantitatively driven platform with Eisai’s deep expertise in neurology, we can together advance highly differentiated small molecules targeting α-synuclein for the treatment of debilitating protein misfolding disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Teiji Kimura, Vice President, Chief Discovery Officer of the Eisai Neurology Business Group, commented:

Synucleinopathies such as dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease represent a significant unmet medical need due to the lack of any effective disease-modifying treatments. The accumulation of α-synuclein oligomers with protein misfolding is an important hallmark of these diseases.

The Wren team, with its world-renowned founding scientists, is pioneering a new and fundamentally different approach to addressing protein misfolding diseases. By integrating capabilities across both companies we expect this exciting collaboration to be uniquely successful in identifying novel disease-modifying therapeutics for patients suffering from dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.

About Synucleinopathies

Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative diseases characterised by the aberrant misfolding and aggregation of α-synuclein in neurons and glial cells. Synucleinopathies include Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA).

About Wren

Wren (www.wrentherapeutics.com) is a spin-off company from the University of Cambridge (UK) and Lund University (Sweden), focused on drug discovery and development for protein misfolding diseases.  Wren is advancing an entirely novel approach to address this class of diseases, based on more than a decade of research from its scientific founders focused on the chemical kinetics of the protein misfolding process.  Wren’s predictive, quantitative platform is built on concepts from the physical sciences and is a fundamental shift from the descriptive, qualitative methods of traditional biology, which have failed to successfully address these complex systems.   Wren is using its unique approach to develop a broad pipeline of therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases.

About Eisai Co., Ltd

Eisai Co., Ltd. (https://www.eisai.com) is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. We define our corporate mission as “giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,” which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. With approximately 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products to address unmet medical needs, with a particular focus in our strategic areas of Neurology and Oncology. As a global pharmaceutical company, our mission extends to patients around the world through working with key stakeholders to improve access to medicines in developing and emerging countries. .

Contact:

Wren Therapeutics – Emer Reynolds, communications@wrentherapeutics.com

Eisai Co., Ltd – Media Inquiries, Eisai Co., Ltd., Public Relations Department, Tel: +81-(0)3-3817-5120 

Paper demonstrates predictive capability of chemical kinetics in assessing clinical-stage molecules for Alzheimer’s disease (“AD”)

  • Significant paper published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
  • Co-authored by Wren’s scientific founders and senior Biogen scientists
  • Aducanumab compared, in a blinded study, to three clinical-stage antibodies using chemical kinetics
  • Only aducanumab dramatically reduces the flux of amyloid-β oligomers, a key neurotoxic species associated with AD
  • Wren advancing its own lead small molecule programs against amyloid-β and α-synuclein using the same kinetics approach
  • Wren to nominate clinical candidate for AD in the first quarter of 2021
  • Other targets including TDP-43, tau and IAPP in earlier stage discovery

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, September 28, 2020 – Wren Therapeutics, (“Wren”, the “Company”), a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a unique approach to drug discovery, today announces that a research paper entitled “Kinetic fingerprints differentiate the mechanisms of anti-Aβ antibodies” has been published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, a prestigious scientific journal. The paper was co-authored by Wren’s scientific founders together with senior scientists at Biogen.

The publication describes the use of chemical kinetic analysis to assess the mechanisms of action of four clinical stage anti-Aβ antibodies: aducanumab (Biogen), gantenerumab (Roche), bapineuzumab (Elan) and solanezumab (Eli Lilly). The results provide unique insights into potential correlations between suppression of specific molecular steps in the aggregation process and clinical outcomes. 

Wren founding scientist and lead author, Professor Sara Linse commented:

The relative characteristics and mechanisms of action of different anti-Aβ therapeutic agents have proved highly challenging to assess. Our analysis reveals the strikingly different effects that four antibodies targeting the same peptide have on the individual molecular steps in the aggregation process. This translates to the antibodies having different capacities to reduce the level of oligomers. The chemical kinetics approach is unique in its ability to deliver these important insights.

Looking forward, the paper highlights that stronger inhibition of the relevant molecular steps could enable even more effective future therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s exciting to be working with the Wren team using the same kinetics approach to develop our own small molecule therapeutics with the most effective mechanism of action against Aβ oligomers.

All four of the antibodies studied bind to Aβ. However, the chemical kinetic analyses show that each has different and distinctive effects on the individual microscopic processes that contribute to the overall aggregation pathway. Importantly, even though several of these antibodies preferentially bind to the same aggregated forms of Aβ, they have substantially different effects on the kinetics.

The results demonstrate that, singularly among these four antibodies, aducanumab selectively inhibits the catalytic cycle that generates new Aβ oligomers, a key neurotoxic species associated with AD.  The study emphasises the critical importance of quantifying the effects of potential therapeutic agents on the underlying microscopic steps in the misfolding and aggregation pathway.  The publication can be found here.

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, former FDA Commissioner and member of the Wren Therapeutics board of directors commented:

By shedding light on their biophysical mechanisms of action, this paper greatly augments the observed clinical results of antibody therapies and can foster a new era for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Wren’s chemical kinetics technology can and should play a central role in therapeutic advancement of antibodies and small molecules that can benefit patients suffering from a wide range of protein misfolding diseases.

Wren’s proprietary platform is based on chemical kinetics, a pioneering approach to address protein misfolding diseases. The company was established in 2016, after two decades of prior academic research in the area, and is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge and Lund University. The company’s scientific founders and co-authors of today’s publication, Professors Sir Chris Dobson, Sara Linse, Michele Vendruscolo and Tuomas Knowles, are credited with multiple important breakthroughs contributing to the understanding of the molecular basis of protein misfolding and its connection to more than 50 diseases. Their work has been published in over 1,000 peer-reviewed papers.

Dr. Samuel Cohen, Chief Executive Officer and co-author commented:

The complexity of protein aggregation has made it resistant to analysis using conventional drug discovery approaches; but now, by tackling directly the dynamic molecular-level steps that drive aberrant biology in Alzheimer’s disease, the Wren platform offers a route to drug them effectively. This paper provides a further demonstration as to how our proprietary kinetics platform delivers predictive, actionable and highly valuable information to enable the discovery and development of molecules for protein misfolding diseases.

At Wren, we have spent the past four years industrialising the kinetics platform for drug discovery, and using it to develop our own small molecule therapeutics against multiple misfolding protein targets. We expect, in the first quarter of 2021, to nominate a clinical candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

About Wren

Wren (www.wrentherapeutics.com) is a spin-off company from the University of Cambridge (UK) and Lund University (Sweden), focused on drug discovery and development for protein misfolding diseases.  Wren is advancing an entirely novel approach to address this class of diseases, based on more than a decade of research from its scientific founders focused on the chemical kinetics of the protein misfolding process.  Wren’s predictive, quantitative platform is built on concepts from the physical sciences and is a fundamental shift from the descriptive, qualitative methods of traditional biology, which have failed to successfully address these complex systems.   Wren is using its unique approach to develop a broad pipeline of therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases.

Contact:

Wren Therapeutics – Emer Reynolds, communications@wrentherapeutics.com

Wren Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on drug discovery and development for protein misfolding diseases, today announces it has completed a Series A financing round. The company, formally founded in 2016, raised a total of £18 million from an international syndicate led by The Baupost Group with participation from LifeForce Capital and a number of high net worth individual investors.

Protein molecules form the machinery that carries out all of the executive functions in living systems. However, proteins sometimes malfunction and become misfolded, leading to a complex chain of molecular events that can ultimately cause long lasting damage in the patient and can lead to fatality. This group of medical disorders are known as protein misfolding diseases. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone diseases are widely recognised protein misfolding diseases, but others include type-2 diabetes and many rare diseases amongst the more than 50 in total.

“Wren’s new and unique approach is instead built on concepts from the physical sciences and focuses on the chemical kinetics of the protein misfolding process, creating a predictive and quantitatively driven platform that has the potential to radically advance drug discovery in this class of diseases.”

Samuel Cohen, Ph.D., one of Wren’s founders, will become the permanent Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Cohen commented:

Protein misfolding diseases are one of the most critical global healthcare challenges of the 21st century but are highly complex and challenging to address. Current strategies – in particular those driven by traditional drug discovery and biological approaches – have proven, at least to date, to be ineffective. Wren’s new and unique approach is instead built on concepts from the physical sciences and focuses on the chemical kinetics of the protein misfolding process, creating a predictive and quantitatively driven platform that has the potential to radically advance drug discovery in this class of diseases.”

The company has received a significant level of interest from external counterparties in its work to date and across many of the most important targets in drug discovery today.

The scientific founders include:

  • Sir Chris Dobson FRS FMedSci, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge and Master of St John’s College, Cambridge, and will serve as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Wren
  • Michele Vendruscolo, Professor of Biophysics at the University of Cambridge, and Chief Scientific Officer of Wren
  • Tuomas Knowles, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Cambridge
  • Sara Linse, Professor of Molecular Protein Science and Physical Chemistry at Lund University and Member of the Nobel Prize Committee for Chemistry

The company is based at the University of Cambridge, in the recently opened Chemistry of Health Centre, and plans on opening a satellite office in Boston, Massachusetts in the near term. Additionally, the company will announce its board of directors in the coming weeks.

Professor Sir Chris Dobson, one of the founders of Wren, added:

Wren is built on many years of highly collaborative, uniquely integrated, interdisciplinary research that has uncovered the key molecular mechanisms associated with protein misfolding diseases. I am hugely enthusiastic about our ability to make tangible progress against these diseases and change the course of life for millions of people around the world suffering from these debilitating and increasingly common medical disorders.”

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