Nido Biosciences

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Deborah Palestrant, Ph.D., M.B.A.


Deborah Palestrant, Ph.D., M.B.A joined 5AM Ventures in 2018 as Partner and Executive Chair of 4:59 Initiative. Previously, Dr. Palestrant was Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Relay Therapeutics, where she executed business strategy including alliances, partnerships, and other collaborations and led communications. She has over 15 years of life sciences industry experience including drug discovery, company creation, operations, business development, and strategy. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Palestrant was a lab head at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where she advanced multiple structure-based drug discovery programs. In 2010, Dr. Palestrant joined Third Rock Ventures as a senior associate and helped to build and launch Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ: BPMC). Upon its launch, Dr. Palestrant served an interim role in operations at Blueprint Medicines. Subsequent to her return to Third Rock Ventures, Dr. Palestrant helped to conceive and launch Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), and as part of the original founding team, she led the business development group until joining Relay Therapeutics. Dr. Palestrant holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Columbia University, an M.B.A from Northeastern University, and was Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at The Scripps Research Institute. She is based in the Boston, MA office.

Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., M.B.A.


Kouki Harasaki is the Founding / Managing Partner at Bioluminescence Ventures.

Dr. Harasaki has over 25 years of biomedical science experience working across major health systems, research institutes, biopharmaceutical corporations, technology companies, and venture capital firms. He has led over $600M in financing deals that have funded over 25 therapeutics programs across stages (discovery to marketed), across therapeutic areas (CVM, Immunology, Oncology, Neuro/CNS), and across modalities (small molecule, biologics, genome editing, cell therapy).

Prior to founding Bioluminescence Ventures, he was a Managing Director at M12 / Microsoft Ventures, where he led Life Science investments and helped develop Microsoft Life Science corporate strategy. Prior to M12, Dr. Harasaki was a senior Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he managed four Bio Fund Partners and worked across the portfolio of 25+ Bio Fund companies.

Prior to his time in venture, Dr. Harasaki held Drug Discovery, Animal Pharmacology, Strategy, Finance, and Business Development roles at Novartis AG and Baxalta/Shire. He holds a B.A. in Molecular/Cell Biology and Asian Studies from Cornell University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Robert S. Kaplan Fellow, and received his Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Wellcome Trust Fellow.

Andrew Hedin, M.B.A.


Andrew is a venture capitalist focused on high-growth biotechnology and healthcare companies. He is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners where he has served on the board or been involved with investments including Kymera Therapeutics (NASDAQ:KYMR), TScan Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TCRX), Nido Biosciences, Peptone, Rimsys, Collective Medical, Bright Health (NYSE:BHG) and multiple stealth startups. Prior to joining Bessemer in 2015, Andrew worked at F-Prime Capital, Fidelity’s healthcare-focused venture capital fund where he invested in early-stage biotech and digital health companies, as well as Leerink Partners as an advisor to the biopharma industry. He received his M.B.A. with honors from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior (Neuroscience) and Healthcare Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jackie Grant, M.B.A., Ph.D.


Jackie has over 15 years of life sciences experience, including science, research, business development and venture investing. She is a principal at Abingworth. Prior, she worked for SV Life Sciences and Genentech. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Neuroimmunology from Stanford School of Medicine and her M.B.A. from Stanford School of Business, and she holds a B.S. in Biology from Boston College.

Jamil M. Beg, Master of Biotechnology, M.B.A.


Jamil is a life science investor and operator focused on advancing breakthrough science into transformational medicines for patients. He joined 5AM Ventures in 2017 and is a Partner based in the Boston office. Mr. Beg serves on the boards of Nido Biosciences, Kinaset Therapeutics, and several stealth startups through 5AM’s 4:59 Initiative. Since joining 5AM, he has been involved with investments in Akouos (NASDAQ: AKUS, acquired by Eli Lilly), Aprea (NASDAQ: APRE), and RallyBio (NASDAQ: RLYB). He partners with founders and entrepreneurs to establish and build biotech startups and often steps into senior executive operating roles, including serving as Founding CEO of Nido Biosciences.  Over his career, Mr. Beg has been involved in over twenty private financings, seven public offerings, and three M&A transactions. He’s operated in six venture-backed startups and contributed to the advancement of five FDA approved products.

Prior to 5AM, Mr. Beg operated at Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) where he advanced the company through business development, corporate strategy, and commercialization roles. Previously, Mr. Beg was an investment professional at Quaker Partners and involved with investments in Transave Inhalation Therapeutics (acquired by Insmed), NuPathe (NASDAQ: PATH, acquired by Teva), EKR Therapeutics (acquired by Cornerstone Therapeutics), and Cempra (NASDAQ: CEMP). Mr. Beg started his career at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy, a management consulting firm for the biopharma industry.

Mr. Beg earned his B.S.E. in Bioengineering and Master of Biotechnology degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his M.B.A. in Healthcare Management and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was a recipient of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Merit Award.

Mike Clayman, M.D.


Mike Clayman, M.D., co-founded Flexion Therapeutics in 2007 and served as president, CEO and a director from inception until its acquisition by Pacira Biosciences in November, 2021. During his tenure Dr. Clayman guided the discovery and development of ZILRETTA® for osteoarthritis-related knee pain. He also serves as chairman of the boards of Anokion SA, a Swiss biotechnology company focused on treating autoimmune disease, and Ribometrix, a US biotechnology company that discovers and develops novel small molecule medicines targeting RNA.

Before founding Flexion, Dr. Clayman had a distinguished career at Eli Lilly and Company, leading numerous divisions engaged in a broad range of activities, from discovery research to clinical investigation to global regulatory affairs. Among his roles, he served as general manager of Chorus, Lilly’s early-phase development accelerator, and as vice president of Lilly Research Laboratories. Prior to Lilly, Dr. Clayman was an assistant professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research centered on the immunopathogenesis of renal disease.

Dr. Clayman is the recipient of the Physician Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.D. from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.


Christina Willwerth

Chief Operating Officer

Christina has been Chief Operating Officer at Nido Biosciences since April 2023 and has 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical development and business operations. Prior to joining Nido Bio, she was Chief Strategy Officer at Flexion Therapeutics, leading corporate strategy and business prioritization, program/portfolio management and human resources. Christina spent over 12 years in executive leadership roles building Flexion from its early financing, through pipeline evolution, development and commercialization of Zilretta®, and acquisition of the company, with influence across all business areas.  Prior to joining Flexion, she was Vice President, Product Development and a member of the Executive Management team at Viacell, Inc. with cross-functional responsibility for the company’s cellular therapy and fertility preservation development programs. Christina also previously served as Senior Director, Product Development at The Medicines Company (TMC), focused on cardiovascular therapy clinical and product development (Angiomax®), and held ascendant clinical/product development roles at TMC, Astra Pharmaceuticals and Biopure Corporation.

Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with high distinction from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.