Three decades of pioneering research has created Wren

Over the past thirty years, we have defined the concept of protein misfolding and its relationship with disease, and created a unique technology platform that is able to accurately identify and precisely modulate the microscopic processes underlying the reaction.


Curiosity of misfolding

Chris Dobson (later Sir Chris Dobson) is intrigued by a rare variant of the protein lysozyme, which misfolds leading to disease. This unusual behaviour is seen by others as simply a “one-off” curiosity.


A generic phenomenon

Contrary to current thinking, Chris realises that misfolding & aggregation ought to be a general phenomenon, and he demonstrates surprisingly that seemingly “ordinary” proteins can in fact misfold & aggregate.

Links to toxicity & disease

Through several important studies, Chris and co-authors show that the rates at which protein variants misfold can predict disease progression and that not all shapes & sizes of aggregates are equally toxic.


Kinetic theory breakthrough

Overcoming major theoretical challenges, our scientific founders introduce the kinetic theory for protein aggregation, immediately revealing new and powerful mechanistic breakthroughs.

Recognising the potential

With the goal of translating our groundbreaking science, Elan and the University of Cambridge launch a new center for innovation and drug discovery focused on translational research into therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, led by Wren's Founders.


First rate law & mechanism

Combining kinetic theory with new experimental protocols, we map the misfolding pathway for Alzheimer’s disease, revealing the central role of feedback loops in the generation of toxic aggregates.


Nature’s defences

In an important step towards understanding how to modulate protein misfolding, we reveal for the first time how our natural protective mechanisms selectively control the misfolding pathway.

First rational inhibitor

We identify - for the first time - the molecular mechanism of a small molecule protein misfolding inhibitor. Building on this, we develop a new data-driven approach to rationally optimise inhibitors.


Incubation of Wren

Wren is founded with a mission to generate therapeutics across a wide range of targets associated with protein misfolding diseases, utilising our unique kinetics-based drug discovery platform.


Acceleration of Wren

Wren completes an £18 million Series A financing round from an international syndicate led by The Baupost Group with participation from LifeForce Capital and a number of high net worth individuals.

Building our pipeline

We expand our discovery efforts to 5 misfolding proteins (alpha-synuclein, amyloid-beta, tau, TDP-43, IAPP) which are associated respectively with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, frontotemporal dementia, motor neurone disease and diabetes.

Novel technology tackling complex problems

See how our technology and kinetics-based approach is changing the future of science.

Our unique approach