About

About2021-08-26T23:58:30+00:00

Our Story

Grace was born in 2009 with a rare, debilitating disease. Deep in confusion and grief, Kristen and Matt Wilsey were faced with three options:

  1. Go home and simply enjoy their daughter. To them, this was akin to “giving up”.
  2. Focus 100% on improving the quality of Grace’s daily life through therapy.
  3. Find a cure themselves.

They went with option 3 and set out to find a cure.

After receiving Grace’s diagnosis in 2013, Matt and Kristen established the Grace Science Foundation to fund research by premier labs around the world to better understand NGLY1 Deficiency. This research rapidly produced numerous insights into the disease. Grace Science, LLC was founded in 2017 to translate these findings into therapies. 

Our Approach

Due to the relatively small populations of patients with rare diseases, most conditions don’t garner the attention of large pharmaceutical companies. We see rare diseases differently and are altering the basic model for approaching them. This is driven by our understanding that studying rare diseases is a valuable opportunity to gain otherwise unpredictable new insights into biological pathways. We can apply this knowledge to more common diseases.
Our model is simple:

  1. Identify a rare disease that results from a single gene mutation
  2. Perform basic research to determine which pathways are affected by mutation
  3. Identify other diseases that share these pathways
  4. Rapidly develop drugs that target the pathway
  5. Treat both the rare and more common diseases

NGLY1 Deficiency is just the beginning. We have no intention of stopping there!

Meet Our Team

A unique ecosystem of brilliant minds: Individuals who see the bigger picture and are willing to try a new model that allows for significant breakthroughs. Individuals who are collaborative & driven to learn and advance science.

Matt Wilsey
Matt WilseyCo-founder & CEO
Matt Wilsey is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, angel investor, and start-up advisor. In addition to consumer products and services, Matt invests in and advocates for biomedical research, drug development, and genetic sequencing technologies.
Carolyn Bertozzi
Carolyn BertozziCo-founder & SAB Member
Carolyn Bertozzi is Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical & Systems Biology and Radiology (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
George Sing
George SingChairman
George Sing is a venture capitalist and co-founder and CEO of life sciences and high technology startups. Led the VC seed investment in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and has been a board director since inception.
Len Post
Len PostDirector & SAB Member
Len Post has over thirty years experience in R&D at pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Vivace Therapeutics. His previous position was Chief Scientific Officer of BioMarin Pharmaceutical, a company focused on rare genetic disease, where he was responsible for programs that included small molecules, proteins, and gene therapy.
Becky Schweighardt
Becky SchweighardtChief Scientific Officer
Becky Schweighardt is an innovative drug developer with broad development experience across multiple global drug approvals in rare disease. Her drug development experience reaches across all stages of development from discovery to post-marketing and across multiple drug modalities, including protein therapeutics, gene therapies, oligo nucleotides, and small molecules. She has over 20 years of academic and industry experience and spent the last 10 years developing therapeutics for rare disease at BioMarin Pharmaceutical.
Brett Crawford
Brett CrawfordSAB Member
Brett Crawford is a glycobiologist with over 15 years of experience in biomarker and therapeutic discovery for rare genetic diseases. As a co-founder of Zacharon Pharmaceuticals, he was the lead inventor and advocate for identifying the primary biochemical event in a disease as a critical tool to empower drug discovery and clinical development decision making.
Dan Oppenheimer
Dan OppenheimerSenior Advisor
Dan Oppenheimer has over 25 years experience in research and development in academia and industry. He is currently a consultant to early-stage rare disease companies and foundations, focusing on research and clinical development, and pipeline strategy.
Cori Leonard
Cori LeonardRegulatory
Cori Leonard has 20 years of experience in Regulatory Affairs, including 15 years developing drugs for rare diseases with multiple approvals globally. She is currently a Regulatory consultant with a focus on helping start-up companies develop drugs for rare diseases.
Laura Dill Morton
Laura Dill MortonToxicology
Laura Dill Morton has worked for nearly 30 years in nonclinical safety assessment at small and large pharmaceutical companies and at her current employer, Aclairo Pharmaceutical Development Group. She is currently a senior consultant and focuses her consulting practice on advanced medicinal therapeutics, including cell and gene therapies.
Brendan Beahm
Brendan BeahmSenior Director of R&D Operations
Brendan Beahm obtained his PhD in Chemistry in the lab of Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. Brendan’s research in the Bertozzi Lab was at the intersection of biology and chemistry, giving him broad exposure to numerous fields and techniques and a breadth of skills. At Grace Science, Brendan manages our collaborations with Contract Research Organizations.
Jennifer Cook
Jennifer CookAssay Development Manager
Jennifer Cook is a skilled assay development scientist with almost 20 years of industry and academic experience. She’s made significant contributions to research and diagnostics across several disciplines at UCSF, Monogram Biosciences, and Cepheid. At Grace Science, she creates and implements methods that aid in the understanding and treatment of NGLY1 deficiency.
Selina Dwight
Selina DwightSenior Director of Program Management
Selina Dwight obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA and did her post-doctoral work at Stanford. She has a background in model organism and clinical genomics databases. Having volunteered for the Grace Science Foundation for several years and inspired by the mission to cure NGLY1 Deficiency and work on related disease pathways, she joined Grace Science LLC in 2018 and now leads its regulatory efforts.
William F. Mueller
William F. MuellerSr. Director of Discovery and Integration
William Francis Mueller earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical
Sciences from the UC, Irvine under Klemens Hertel and did his
postdoc in Lars Steinmetz’s group at the EMBL in Heidelberg,
Germany. Will’s experience studying NGLY1 and using systems
genetics to leverage molecular phenotypes into functional screens and assays led him to Grace Science.
Caroline Stanclift
Caroline StancliftPatient Outreach, Research, & Education Manager
Caroline Stanclift earned her MS from Stanford University’s program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling. As a Genetic Counselor, she has specialized training in medical genetics and patient communication. She supports families impacted by NGLY1 Deficiency by leading the outreach, research, and education efforts at Grace Science. She previously worked in the Proteomics Platform of The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Brandon Tan
Brandon TanResearch Associate
Brandon earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of California, Merced, in 2018. As an undergraduate, he studied C. albicans’ ability to form biofilms in Clarissa J. Nobile’s lab. After graduating, Brandon gained experience working as a lab technician at PathMD and later as a Scientist I for Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Rajiv Vaidya
Rajiv VaidyaSenior Director of Manufacturing
Rajiv Vaidya is a Senior Director of Manufacturing at Grace Science, LLC, focusing on NGLY1 Gene Therapy manufacturing. He has over 18 years of academic and industry experience. He has worked at Brammer Bio to support gene therapy manufacturing operations.
Lei Zhu
Lei ZhuSenior Scientist
Lei Zhu is a neuroscientist with 8 + years experience in neurodegenerative diseases research. Before joining Grace Science, he worked on Alzheimer’s disease and neuroinflammation in Dr. Lennart Mucke’s lab. He brings with him expertise in mouse disease models and CNS AAV gene therapy to Grace Science.

“Because of Grace and her rare genetics, we’re looking where others aren’t. And that’s opening up possibilities for new discoveries that could have huge benefits.”

Carolyn Bertozzi, Co-founder

Rare Unlocks Common

Grace Science is leveraging NGLY1 biology to treat human disease.

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