Relay Therapeutics is a clinical-stage precision medicine company transforming the drug discovery process.

Relay was built upon unparalleled insights into protein motion and how this dynamic behavior relates to protein function. These insights enable us to effectively drug protein targets that have previously been intractable (i.e. inadequately drugged or undruggable). Our initial focus is on enhancing small molecule therapeutic discovery in targeted oncology.

Our Dynamo platform integrates an array of leading-edge experimental and computational approaches that enable us to drug these targets by providing a differentiated understanding of protein structure and motion.


Our Dynamo platform combines key technological advances into one integrated drug discovery engine that can transform conventional structure-based drug design into motion-based drug discovery.

Our co-founders are key scientific thought leaders in their respective fields: David E. Shaw, Ph.D., chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research; Matthew Jacobson, Ph.D., professor and Chemistry Department chair at University of California, San Francisco; Dorothee Kern, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Brandeis University and investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Mark Murcko, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Relay Founders

  • Matthew Jacobson, Ph.D.

    Professor and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department Chair, UCSF

    Matthew (Matt) Jacobson, Ph.D., serves as a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and is currently chair of the department. He serves on the scientific advisory board of Schrödinger, LLC and is a co-founder of Global Blood Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GBT), a Third Rock Ventures portfolio company, and Circle Pharma, a UCSF and UC Santa Cruz spinout devising ways to disrupt a wide variety of diseases from inside cells.

    Matt’s research interests are in the area of computational biophysics and computer-aided drug design. Software written by Matt and his collaborators is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. Matt is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and received UCSF School of Pharmacy Dean’s Recognition for Excellence in Teaching. He previously served as director of the Graduate Group in biophysics and has served on the editorial boards of eight journals, including Biochemistry, PLoS Computational Biology and Structure.

    Matt holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed his postdoctoral research at Oxford University and Columbia University.

    Fun Fact:

    Matt’s first academic job was substitute high school science teacher, which he reports was much more difficult than getting tenure at a top biomedical research institution.

  • Dorothee Kern, Ph.D.

    Professor, Brandeis University; Investigator, HHMI

    Dorothee (Doro) Kern, Ph.D., is Professor of Biochemistry at Brandeis University and serves as the director of the graduate program in Biophysics and Biochemistry and previously as Chair of the Biochemistry department. She is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2005 and a member of the National German Academy of Science Leopoldina. She joined the faculty of Brandeis University in 1999.

    She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany, and completed her postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley with a fellowship from the German National Academic Foundation and BASF.

    Doro’s research group studies the dynamical nature of proteins with the goal of revealing the interplay between structure, dynamics and function. She has been a major contributor in the experimental characterization of protein dynamics during enzyme catalysis and signaling. Recently, Doro has focused on reconstructing the evolution of proteins over billions of years. She is the recipient of the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the National Lecturer of the Biophysical Society, the Dayhoff Award from the Biophysical Society, the Young Investigator Award of the International Association for Protein Structure Analysis and Proteomics and the Strage Award for Aspiring Young Science Faculty. Before her professional scientific career, she was captain of the German National Basketball team for many years and won an MVP award.

    Fun Fact:

    Doro was the point guard and captain of the German National Basketball Team and is the reigning Masters World Champion.

  • Mark Murcko, Ph.D.

    Senior Lecturer, MIT

    Mark Murcko, Ph.D. has directly contributed to seven marketed drugs and several others currently in mid-stage clinical trials.

    Until November 2011, Mark was chief technology officer and chair of the scientific advisory board of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. In this role, he was responsible for the identification, validation and incorporation of disruptive technologies across global R&D. Mark is a co-inventor of the HCV protease inhibitor Incivek (telaprevir), as well as Agenerase (amprenavir) and Lexiva (fosamprenavir), Vertex’s two marketed drugs for the treatment of HIV. In addition, he guided the early efforts of the Vertex’s cystic fibrosis program that later produced the marketed drugs Kalydeco (ivacaftor) and Orkambi (lumacaftor / ivacaftor). He is also a co-inventor of eight other clinical candidates in the areas of cancer, inflammation/immunology and infectious disease, and was responsible for starting many of Vertex’s programs in these and other disease areas, notably leading to Vertex’s influenza drug VX-787 and cancer drug VX-970, both currently in mid-stage clinical trials.

    Prior to Vertex, Mark worked at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, where he helped discover clinical candidates against infection and cardiovascular and ocular diseases, including inhibitors of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase for the treatment of glaucoma. One of Merck’s development candidates in this area, dorzolamide, was commercialized in two products, Trusopt and the combination medicine Cosopt (dorzolamide/ timolol).  Trusopt was the first marketed drug in pharmaceutical history to result from a structure-based drug design program.

    Mark is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT.  In addition, Mark is a member of numerous scientific advisory boards and corporate boards of directors for a diverse range of organizations.  He served as the chair of the 2013 Gordon Research Conference in Medicinal Chemistry and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the GRC.  He is a co-inventor on more than 50 issued and pending patents and has co-authored more than 85 scientific articles.  Mark holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University and a B.S., summa cum laude, in chemistry and applied mathematics from Fairfield University.

    Fun Fact:

    In college, Mark once played the arcade game “Battlezone” for 3.5 hours on a single quarter and won enough bar bets to last an entire semester.

  • David E. Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Scientist

    D.E. Shaw Research

    D. E. Shaw Research is engaged in scientific research in the field of computational biochemistry, with a primary focus on the use of long molecular dynamics simulations to study the structure and dynamics of proteins, to elucidate atomic-level biological mechanisms, and to identify and exploit new opportunities for pharmaceutical intervention. The group designed and constructed a specialized supercomputer called Anton that has provided a new window into the structural changes underlying various pharmaceutically relevant phenomena that occur on time scales far in excess of those previously accessible to computational study.

    David E. Shaw, Ph.D. is the chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research. David currently holds appointments as a senior research fellow at the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Columbia University and as an adjunct professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia’s medical school. He served on the faculty of the Computer Science Department at Columbia until 1986 and founded the D. E. Shaw group in 1988.

    Since 2001, David has devoted his time to hands-on research in the field of computational biochemistry. David was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology by President Clinton in 1994, and again by President Obama in 2009. He is a two-time co-recipient of the ACM Gordon Bell Prize, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

    David holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

    Fun Fact:

    By virtue of his mumbled, ten-word speaking part in the 1988 movie Dangerous Love, starring Elliot Gould, David has a Bacon Number of two. The impact of his stirring portrayal of “Platt Executive” is reflected in the credits, where he appears 33rd in a cast of 36 (below “Platt Receptionist,” but ahead of both “Biker” and “Second Stripper”).

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