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Third Rock’s New Revolution Looks to Squeeze More Drugs From Nature

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insights and develop new drugs from various complex, naturally occurring molecules. Burke last year published work that showed most of the polyenes, a class of compounds that include antimicrobials such as amphotericin-B, as well as compounds like beta-carotene used in dyes, could be broken down into building blocks, modified, and reassembled.

When asked what else the platform could modify, Goldsmith would only say, “We’re optimistic about the broader utility. Stay tuned.”

The company will announce more executive appointments soon, said Goldsmith. Burke is keeping his academic post and will not take an executive position at Revolution, which is soon to occupy labs and offices in Redwood City.

Third Rock partners often run the firm’s portfolio companies for a year or more on an interim basis, then circulate back to the firm to build new companies. Like Nick Leschly did when he left Third Rock to run Bluebird Bio (NASDAQ: BLUE) full time, however, Goldsmith, who is based in the firm’s San Francisco office, said he would also break that cycle. He’ll continue to serve on the board of his previous companies, including Nurix, but he won’t build any new ones. “We don’t have any plans to hire a new CEO for Revolution,” he said. “I’m deeply committed to the mission of the company.”

Part of that mission, he said, is to become a fully integrated drug company, with operations from drug discovery to commercialization.

Third Rock is no stranger to exploring nature for products. In 2012 it launched Warp Drive Bio, an ambitious venture to sequence tens of thousands of microbial genomes, then search them for clues to novel drugs. Goldsmith said Revolution won’t expect to share knowledge that its portfolio mate has gleaned about natural product development.

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