Dewpoint Therapeutics co-founder Anthony Hyman will share the 2020 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences for his foundational work on biomolecular condensates, once-mysterious cellular structures now understood to play key roles in a vast array of biological functions and disease processes.
Hyman, Director and Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, led the team that in 2009 published the first studies that began to unveil the workings of condensates. Over the course of the decade that followed, he and his colleagues have continued to unravel the workings of these droplet-like liquid compartments, which form and dissolve dynamically within cells, allowing them to respond quickly to changing conditions and control when and where certain reactions occur.
The researchers have shown that condensates are central to the normal functioning of cells, and that they also play critical roles in a host of ailments, including ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, opening up a whole way of developing drugs for many hard-to-treat diseases. In late 2018, Hyman founded Dewpoint with Richard Young of the Whitehead Institute to do just that.
“It is wonderful to see the Wiley Foundation recognize Tony’s leadership in bringing biomolecular condensates to the forefront,” said Amir Nashat, Dewpoint CEO. “This emergent field will reshape how we teach biology, understand disease pathways, and ultimately pursue treatments for patients who are vastly underserved today.”
Hyman will share the Wiley Prize with Princeton professor Cliff Brangwynne, and Michael Rosen, who chairs the Department of Biophysics at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Eleven previous winners of the Wiley Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2002, have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.
“The Wiley Foundation honors research that champions novel approaches and challenges accepted thinking in the biomedical sciences. The work of the 2020 Wiley Prize recipients… truly upholds this mission,” said Deborah Wiley, Chair of the Wiley Foundation in an announcement from the foundation. “We honor them for the discovery of a completely new aspect of cell biology that impacts our understanding of how cells work.”
Dewpoint is now translating that new understanding into new medicines for a number of once-intractable diseases.
About Dewpoint Therapeutics
Dewpoint Therapeutics is the first company founded to apply the emerging discipline of biomolecular condensates to drug discovery. Dewpoint believes that a vast range of conditions have pathways that are regulated by condensates or arise from the dysfunction of condensates — including cancer, neurodegeneration, and metabolic disease. Dewpoint scientists are working in Boston, MA, and Dresden, Germany, to translate condensate biology into treatments for the toughest diseases. Learn more at dewpointx.com.
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Scientific animation: Visual Science