Denali Therapeutics

Ryan Watts
South San Francisco, CA
Year Invested

Neurodegenerative disease has remained an undefeated adversary for too long.

That needed to change. Through our affiliate FBRI, F-Prime has had a long-standing commitment to cure neurodegenerative diseases. But all previous disease-modifying trials in this arena had failed. In the past decade, though, major scientific insights into the underlying genetic causes and biological processes—along with new translational medicine tools—gave us hope for a different future.

We saw an unprecedented opportunity for a serious, well-funded effort to discover and develop new, effective therapies to treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and other rare neurodegenerative diseases.

So we seeded a new company. Named after the highest mountain peak in the United States, Denali Therapeutics aspires to conquer a most challenging problem by adopting a rigorous approach to drug development, identifying the right patients, observing treatment efficacy at earlier stages, and conducting clinical trials geared towards patient success.

We partnered with other like-minded investors and, through our deep relationships in the field, were able to attract Ryan Watts as CEO, who in turn assembled a spectacular team. Denali Therapeutics has attracted some of the most talented scientific innovators in the world who bring extensive experience and an intense passion to develop therapies for these devastating diseases.

Since being founded in 2015, Denali Therapeutics has raised more than $300M privately and in December 2017 went public, breaking the 2017 record for initial market valuation of a biotech company.

The team at F-Prime led the founding of Denali and helped create a company focused on solving big medical problems. They brought the scientific and business firepower to rapidly found and grow Denali.

— Ryan Watts, CEO