Welcome To The Cool Companies Spotlight: f5 Therapeutics
The Class of 2022 Cool Companies is absolutely stellar and we are excited to share them with you. This spotlight series provides the opportunity to learn more about each company from their founders, CEO’s, or Presidents. We will provide you a glimpse into the incredible innovation and talent being cultivated in San Diego.
The tenth spotlight in the series is dedicated to f5 Therapeutics.
f5 Therapeutics’ platform is expanding the scope of degradable targets in the Targeted Protein Degradation space. Their methods allow access to the abundance of undiscovered neosubstrates available for degradation with potential in multiple indications. They identify these new targets in context with cellular assays allowing them to fully realize the wide class of neosubstrates afforded by cereblon. Multiple new targets they have discovered are currently not being pursued by other degrader companies. NExMods™ have demonstrated in vitro POC across five therapeutic areas (immuno-oncology, Wnt-driven cancers, auto-immune disease, NASH, liver fibrosis) and demonstrated 100X cereblon binding potency versus known clinical IMiDs. They have also demonstrated statistically superior tumor control versus sorafenib in a HepG2 (HCC) xenograft mouse model (in vivo).
What inspired you to be a Co-Founder of f5 Therapeutics?
The passion and vision of the scientific team inspired me to help co-found this company. I’ve been in the industry for 30 years and believe that I have the ability to bring their vision to the lab, to patients, and eventually to the market.
Why is your company the best solution to the problem you're solving?
Published structure-based docking studies predict 4600 neo-substrates available for IMiD mediated degradation of which ~50 have been disclosed in the literature. Multiple protein degradation approaches (PROTACs and molecular glues) are utilizing a target-based approach focused on disclosed neosubstrate profiles established in the literature. f5 Therapeutics platform utilizes a focused chemical library design, disease mimicking phenotypic screening, and chemical proteomics that has provided an environment to efficiently identify unique CRBN modulators and novel neosubstrate targets that have not been disclosed in the public domain. Our function-based approach has identified 11 new putative neosubstrates with biological activity with assets that are truly ‘First-in-Class’ based on unique degradation profiles versus the competition.
What is the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur?
Many of us start with nothing. Convincing others to back to your vision and dream takes perseverance, resilience, and a singular focus. Keeping your focus while staying flexible is one of the hardest balances to achieve as an entrepreneur.
If you could be any superhero which would it be and why?
Probably overkill here, but Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) would be my choice. No superpowers outside of his brain and his ability to utilize science/technology for good. Sound familiar?
What’s your most satisfying entrepreneur moment so far?
My most satisfying entrepreneur moment so far has been getting our initial positive data back. Nothing like having results that match your therapeutic hypothesis.
What's the best entrepreneurial advice you've received?
Be an outstanding futurist while keeping an eye on the downside. Stay on top of whatever field that you’re working in and make sure that your technology is still relevant. It’s incredibly easy to become myopic on your companies’ innovation(s) while the field passes you buy. Track where the field is going and stay ahead of the curve.
Where would we find you in San Diego?
I live in North County and when I’m not in the office you can find me out on pickleball courts (often) and golf courses (not nearly enough).
Who do you consider a role model?
My role model has always been my father. Even though he passed from cancer in 2013, he still serves as my inspiration on how to be an exceptional father, son, brother, leader, and a positive influence on others.
Here at Connect our mission is to help San Diego’s incredible startup companies grow and succeed. We hope you enjoyed reading The Cool Company Spotlight. Stay tuned for more upcoming spotlights!