A new startup has emerged from the laboratory of biochemist David Liu with plans to reprogram protein-cutting enzymes to treat disease, according to public records and job postings.
Named Resonance Medicine, the company is working on technology to engineer those enzymes, or proteases, to target specific proteins, the documents show. The postings link Resonance to research done at Liu’s lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Resonance was incorporated in April 2021 and registered with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s office in July of that year. In further filings it describes itself as working on the “development and commercialization of protease-related technologies.”
Few details are public and both Liu and the Broad Institute did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But, through the information that is available, BioPharma Dive has pieced together a snapshot of the company, its leadership and its research focus.
The Massachusetts filings, for instance, show Resonance’s board of directors includes an array of venture capitalists from well-known firms: Newpath Partners’ Thomas Cahill, F-Prime Capital’s Jessica Alston, GV’s Issi Rozen, Arch Venture Partners’ Kristina Burow and Atlas Venture’s Kevin Bitterman. All five firms have previously invested in at least one other biotech co-founded by Liu.
GV declined to comment. Arch and Newpath’s Cahill, when reached by BioPharma Dive, declined to answer questions prior to this story's publication. Atlas and F-Prime did not respond.
Liu’s Broad Institute biography lists Resonance as one of the many companies he’s co-founded, alongside now-public gene editing biotechs Editas Medicine, Beam Therapeutics and Prime Medicine. Newpath, which has invested in three other Liu startups, includes Resonance as one of its portfolio companies, describing it as operating in “stealth mode.”
Resonance’s registration documents also name Niranjan Kameswaran, a former executive at eye drug developer Kala Pharmaceuticals, as the company’s chief operating officer. On Kameswaran’s LinkedIn, he identifies his current company as a “stealth-stage biotech startup,” the webpage for which lists several open job postings. One includes Resonance’s name.
The job postings reveal Liu was joined in founding Resonance by Travis Blum, one of his former students, as well as Harvard professor Min Dong and University of California, San Francisco researcher Jim Wells.
Blum, Dong, Wells and Kameswaran did not respond to requests for comment.
Two months before Resonance was incorporated, Blum, Dong and Liu were co-authors on a paper published in the journal Science that could offer a clue to the company’s direction. It details a method for reprogramming proteases to cleave protein targets of researchers’ choosing. The approach, which they describe as “phage-assisted evolution,” uses viruses skilled at infecting bacteria to modify proteases, which Liu has previously described as “tailor-made biological therapies.”
Publicly available information does not specifically link the paper to Resonance. But details contained in the registration documents and in job postings suggest at least an overlapping focus.
According to one job posting, Resonance’s technology is designed to “rapidly generate novel proteases with high specificity and potency for user-defined therapeutic targets.”
“By reprogramming the specificity of proteases, we aim to revolutionize the treatment of protein-driven diseases,” the listing adds.
Another posting for a research associate, which doesn’t mention Resonance by name, describes job responsibilities that include supporting research of a “phage-assisted continuous evolution” platform.
It’s not clear how much money Resonance has raised, the status of its research or whether its direction has changed since its incorporation in 2021. The company’s principal office is at One Winthrop Square in downtown Boston, according to one of the Massachusetts filings.