From Structural Biology to Structuring Companies: Deb Palestrant on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Deb Palestrant.

Deb is a partner with 5AM Ventures and the executive chair of the 4:59 Initiative. 5AM invests in early-stage startups working on a variety of novel biological targets and some of the emerging new treatment modalities – gene therapy, gene editing, oligonucleotides. As the name suggests, it’s not afraid to get involved in companies in very early days, when they are high-risk/high-reward propositions.

Deb Palestrant, partner, 5AM Ventures; executive chair, 4:59

Deb comes to this venture work with a deep scientific background, and significant hands-on operating experience. She got her PhD in structural biology at Columbia University, and made the move to industry at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research in the mid-2000s. She found her way into the Boston biotech startup world in the 2010s, and was a part of building a series of ambitious companies – Blueprint Medicines, Editas Medicine, and Relay Therapeutics included.

We talk in this episode about Deb’s career journey, about how she and her partners think about creating companies, and what areas of opportunity she sees in science and medicine.

And now for a word from the sponsor of The Long Run.



Occam Global is an international professional services firm focusing on executive recruitment, organizational development and board construction. The firm’s clientele emphasize intensely purposeful and broadly accomplished entrepreneurs and visionary investors in the Life Sciences. Occam Global augments such extraordinary and committed individuals in building high performing executive teams and assembling appropriate governance structures. Occam serves such opportune sectors as gene/cell therapy, neuroscience, gene editing, the intersection of AI and Machine Learning and drug discovery and development

Connect with Occam at:



Now, please join me and Deb Palestrant on The Long Run.

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