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Shape Therapeutics: Quality of Life Above Everything Else


If you ever had the power to change people’s lives, improve their biological status, and find the solution to countless diseases, would you dare take the shot? While most wannabe-heroes would forever wander, Francois Vigneault, Prashant Mali, and John Suliman gladly and eagerly rose up to the challenge.

In fact, this trio took the road less traveled by and emphasized the importance of contributing to humankind. Willing to sacrifice their time, efforts, and earnings, the trio created a platform serving a humanitarian mission rarely anyone dares take on - Shape Therapeutics!

Finding a cure for diseases millions of people suffer from is not your ordinary accomplishment, but ever since Shape Therapeutics arrived on the health market, things began looking up!

Armed with the passion to rediscover human genetics and unlock the mystery of how it all worked so symbiotically well, Francois, Prashant, and John’s platform is a pure scientific miracle in an industry still digging up for basic answers on human genetics.

The Great Minds

Although born in different countries, and raised in very different cultures, the three intellectuals would find themselves on the same path when they least expected. While they never once thought that they might end up working together, Francois, Prashant, and John were sure glad that the universe brought them together at the right time.

Francois was born and raised in Canada and had spent most of his childhood and education days there. However, in constant pursuit of improvement and better options for developing his talent in biotechnology, Francois saw no other viable learning alternative than to move to the USA and try his luck in the land of dreams.

Before his career-defining trip, the young scientist had served a decade as Subsurface Officer and Maritime Surface in the Canadian Navy, where he conducted and organized various military operations. Francois also holds a Ph.D., is a Master in Molecular Biology, and has a BA in microbiology from the University of Laval in Quebec.

Freshly enrolled at Harvard Medical School, Francois had developed one of the first approaches to micro RNAs and Next Generation Sequencing. His work experience speaks volumes about the kind of visionary he is. Namely, Francois has a postdoctoral fellowship at George Church Lab and has founded Abvitro and Juno Therapeutics, both biotechnology companies.

Following his studies, Francois met Prashant and John at George Church Lab, and his one-man show soon became a vision of three. Prashant was born in India and, similarly to Francois, he moved to the States with the same educational purpose. A professor of Bioengineering at the University of San Diego, Prashant has won countless professional awards and represents one of the leading experts in his field to this day.

While Francois and Prashant are both scientists and researchers, John, a San Francisco native, took a very different route in building his professional career.

John had always gained a love for business, and graduated from Georgetown University, boasting outstanding skills in entrepreneurship, financial analysis, project modeling and management, and leadership. For the still-team-of-two, John represented the entrepreneurial addition they never knew they needed.

The ShapeTX Initiative

Although aware of the obvious medical growth and expansion, the team still noticed the industry’s technological shortcomings, especially in discovering cures or treatment courses for century-old diseases.

Francois and Prashant first met at their postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, in the Department of Genetics. Here, Francois was both CIHR and Ragon Fellow, conducting extremely unique research thoroughly developed during his fellowship. At the same time, Prashant was working individually, developing CRISPR/Cas systems for genome engineering, specified for eukaryotes.

It was just a matter of time before the two great genomic scientists would come together to work on an even more challenging and promising project. While randomly discussing their interests over a cup of coffee, Francois and Prashant learned they were attracted to the same fields of biotechnology and science. Next thing you know, the two laid out their business ideas on the table and decided to use their skills, craft, and experience to create something of utter value to humankind.

While the general idea was there, the two also needed some help in simplifying the concept and making it more efficient and practical, which is where John’s skills came quite in handy.

Once the vision was brought to life, Francois and Prashant became responsible for its scientific aspect, whilst John was in charge of the business and entrepreneurial side of the platform. Piecing their strategies together into one functional pattern, the team finally completed their mosaic, and thus, Shape Therapeutic made its official debut on the market!

Finding the Cure, Paving the Way

Founders aside, ShapeTX was largely supported by the best scientists in genomic therapy. Launched in 2018, the platform revolves around discovering cures for a number of common and uncommon diseases. The diversity of scientific knowledge and professional rigor put into the company has helped the team gather expertise in drug development and find cures for numerous complex conditions.

A self-proclaimed leader of the next-generation gene therapy, Shape Therapeutics is enabling the direct in-vivo modification and targeting of RNA, by taking advantage of ADARs (the acting on RNA - Adenosine Deaminase), suppressor tRNAs, and the adeno-associated viruses immune-stealth (AAVs).

Oncology, rare metabolic genetic diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders are some of the many branches Shape Therapeutic covers in presenting suitable medical market solutions, with countless other medical fields still in development.

The cellular machinery present in human cells is actually ShapeTX’s biggest forte, as the platform is committed to improving and scientifically advancing its tools in discovering cures for various deadly diseases.

Shape Therapeutics, Today

Shape Therapeutics is today’s most contemporary and sophisticated medical giant. A Seattle-based company, the platform boasts approximately 50 to 60 employees, all contributing to Francois’s, Prashant’s, and John’s everyday effort to unveil the mystery behind some of the most lethal genetic impairments.

This effort was soon recognized by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and CureDuchenne Ventures, both of which participated in Series A funding worth $35.5 million. This generous capital provided the company with the option to expand its portfolio of services, recruit even more top-notch scientists, and gain the freedom in doing the finest scientific research for any medical purpose.

The platform also founded an Advisory Board comprised of world-famous experts in the fields of bioengineering, gene editing, and genomics. ShapeTX enjoys refined and seamless support from experts such as PhDs. George Church, James Collins, and Don Cleveland. Its primary goal remains the same and revolves around maintaining constant scientific development and enforcing in-depth research whilst relying on the highest levels of scientific findings and contributions.

In order to ensure its future progress, Shape Therapeutic also installed an open site satellite in Massachusetts. In no time, Francois, Prashant, and John earned a solid reputation within the world of science, and years later, their company still holds a top spot on the list of the most competitive platforms in the field of biotechnology and science.

Tackling one medical puzzle after the other, and equipped with implemented experience, knowledge, and much-needed teamwork in pushing medical advances forward, ShapeTX is honoring one of science’s primal purposes - serving humankind and doing it all with integrity and a hint of hope for healthier days ahead!