Why was Denali able to raise a $217MM Series A? Find out the special ingredients that broke the Series A ceiling.
Denali debuted in 2015 to work in neurodegenerative diseases with a biotech record breaking $217MM Series A investment from top tier venture capitalists. Ryan headed neuroscience at Genentech; the founder group includes Stanford’s new president. With an all-star team and a novel approach to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the rationale for that level of investment emerges. Ryan will speak about forming the company, how he is putting the funds to work (now including a $130MM Series B) and how he intends to reverse the industry’s long record of failure in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases with an approach that applies the translational rigor seen in oncology.
Ryan Watts is a co-founder and a member of Board of Directors for Denali Therapeutics. He serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Ryan previously served as Director of the Department of Neuroscience at Genentech, where he was employed for 11 years. During his tenure there, he led the company’s entry into neuroscience, building a department and advancing multiple programs for neurological disease from discovery to clinical testing. Ryan’s own laboratory focused on drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease and on understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration guided by human genetics. Ryan is also a leader in the development of improved methods for delivering therapeutic antibodies across the blood-brain barrier. He obtained his B.S. from the University of Utah and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Stanford University.