Armand B. Cognetta III, PhD
Armand began his biotech career at the then early-stage biotech Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as their first intern, where he helped develop an in vivo RNAi quantification technology still in use over a decade later when Alnylam became the first company to bring an FDA-approved RNAi therapeutic to market.
Armand then completed his PhD in Chemical Biology at the Scripps Research Institute under the supervision of Dr. Benjamin F. Cravatt. There he co-authored 19 scientific publications in prestigious journals such as Cell, Nature, and Science, as well as multiple patents, including foundational IP for Abide Therapeutics (acq. Lundbeck) and Vividion Therapeutics (acq. Bayer).
While in the Cravatt Research Group Armand also co-authored the development of both the first proteome-wide cholesterol and anandamide lipid binding maps, created the first platform for proteome-wide discovery of protein-protein interaction modulators, discovered a novel class of anti-tubercular drugs, synthesized the first covalent Wnt pathway activator, co-developed a novel class of endocannabinoid-potentiating therapeutics with implications for cancer, analgesia, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s, developed two drugs that reversed aging in C. elegans and mice, led an international investigation of the 2016 Bial clinical trial disaster (data arising from this presented to FDA led to reversal of their decision to ban clinical trials in this area; in collaboration with Pfizer), and developed/synthesized multiple first-in-class covalent molecules for many previously undrugged proteins such as PNPLA4, ABHD3, CPVL, and PPT1.
Armand then joined the Flagship Pioneering start-up Inzen Therapeutics (now Sonata) as one of the first ~five employees, where he single-handedly built the company’s proteomics drug discovery engine: the first platform enabling global mapping of novel cell-death signaling factors. After Inzen, he went through Y Combinator as a solo-founder to develop the next generation of induced-proximity medicines at General Proximity, where he currently serves as Founder and CEO. Armand has won five ‘Golden Ticket’ pharma pitch competitions—AbbVie, Servier, Astellas, Ono Pharma, Bristol Myers Squibb; more than any other biotech start-up—on the strength and novelty GP’s OmniTAC platform and it’s ability to develop therapeutics for multiple “undruggable” targets. In his free time Armand enjoys advising other biotechnology start-ups and doing Type 2 fun activities like triathlons and ultra-marathons.