Cambridge, MA-based Arena BioWorks has launched as a privately funded, fully independent biomedical institute to shorten the path from insight to therapeutics.
Founding investors included:
- Steve Pagliuca, who has over 30 years of private equity investment experience in the healthcare space.
- Michael Dell, founder, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies and founder of the Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas, who is partnering with Arena to advance human biology and clinical translation.
- Michael Chambers, founder and former CEO of Aldevron with more than 25 years of biomanufacturing experience, who is partnering with Arena in next-gen biomanufacturing.
- Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, former Managing Partner at Accel Partners and former board member of WalMart, Facebook, Dell, and many others, with more than 30 years of venture investing in technology and artificial intelligence (AI), who will partner with Arena on AI, machine learning, and large language models to advance therapeutic discovery.
- Elisabeth DeLuca, who is a philanthropist and former nurse with a passion for advancing healthcare and transformative medicines.
Located in a state-of-the-art facility in the Kendall Square biotech hub in Cambridge, MA, the biomedical research institute aims to uncover mechanisms of disease by engaging in basic biological research that will be translated into lifesaving biotech therapeutics. As part of its novel model, discovery and company creation will occur seamlessly under a single entity. Arena will be able to quickly translate insight into discovery, supporting development efforts with its drug discovery platforms through preclinical studies and beyond, when appropriate.
Arena is led by a management committee that comprises preeminent chemical biology pioneer, Stuart Schreiber, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer to drive the scientific vision, former Co-Chair of Bain Capital and philanthropist, Steve Pagliuca, as Executive Chair, and Founder and Managing Partner of the life science venture capital firm Newpath Partners, Tom Cahill, M.D., Ph.D. as Institute Representative.
Keith Joung, M.D., Ph.D., an innovator in the field of CRISPR gene editing, formerly of Massachusetts General Hospital, joins Schreiber as part of the core scientific team, along with several other field leaders to be announced in the future.
Arena’s private funding model empowers scientists to investigate any disease. When Arena’s human biology approach elucidates a disease mechanism, Arena will form a company to translate that insight to the clinic. These emerging companies, which might recruit external scientists and leaders, will all be developed within the resource-rich ecosystem of Arena. Arena will foster cross-collaboration amongst its companies and provide shared, cross-discipline leadership, equipment, and space, allowing for efficient use of capital and acceleration of progress.
As companies evolve and return capital, a portion of it will go back to the institute. Over the long term, Arena will derive its operational funding through biotech companies built on its own discoveries. Other returns will be distributed such that scientists at all levels are incentivized to create value while working transparently and collaboratively.
Arena will reach broadly across indications with the greatest unmet medical needs and for which there is a deep understanding of human pathobiology. These indications include areas of brain health, oncology, immunology, and aging, among others. The institute will advance platform technologies including chemoproteomics, molecular glue and covalent drug discovery, high-throughput screening, protein and antibody engineering, gene and epigenetic editing, gene and cell therapies, drug delivery, and data science.