August 16, 2023

Empress Therapeutics Appoints Dawn Thompson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Head of Platform Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 16, 2023 – Empress Therapeutics, a company accelerating small molecule drug generation through novel insights linking genes to chemistry, today announced that Dawn Thompson, Ph.D., has been appointed Senior Vice President, Head of Platform Development. With more than 20 years of experience leading cross-functional teams and building technology platforms at early-stage companies, Dr. Thompson will focus at Empress on platform innovation, adding new workflows and advanced genomics capabilities as well as efficiency and scale to all existing functions.

“Throughout Dawn’s career, she has built foundational platforms at the intersection of evolution, genomics, and microbes to drive therapeutic and new product innovations and support rapidly scaling companies,” said Jason Park, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Empress and Operating Partner at Flagship Pioneering. “As an experienced technology platform builder, she will accelerate Empress’ capabilities to rapidly and predictably generate advanced starting points for small molecule drug candidates.”

“Empress is advancing a simple and brilliant idea that is just now possible to realize with particular advancements in genomics and AI,” said Dr. Thompson. “Based on my past experience in small molecule therapeutics, I believe there’s no better place to look for starting chemistry than within the biosynthetic gene pathways found in the human body. I see incredible opportunity to further build and expand the Chemilogics platform to explore the genetic code and create small molecule drugs predictably and quickly.”

Before joining Empress, Dr. Thompson was Vice President, Microbiology and Automation and Head, SyntheticBiology at LifeMine Therapeutics, where she led teams in the discovery of therapeutically relevant natural products. Previous to LifeMine, Dr. Thompson was Head of Next Generation Sequencing at Ginkgo Bioworks, where she led the development of a diverse portfolio of technologies, including fully automated DNA sequencing, genome assembly, and RNA-seq. At Ginkgo, she also oversaw platform development for engineering of novel organism factories to deliver products across diverse commercial applications and markets including pharmaceuticals, living medicines, agriculture, and electronics.

Prior to Ginkgo, Dr. Thompson spent nine years as Associate Director of the Cell Circuits Program under Aviv Regev, Ph.D. at the Broad Institute, where she was integral to the scientific vision and Omics technological development toward systematically defining the genetic and molecular circuits of a wide range of cell types. At the Broad, Dr. Thompson was concurrently a Senior Group Leader in Evolutionary Genomics. She has co-authored more than 30 peer reviewed publications and reviews. Dr. Thompson was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and her B.S. in biology from University of New Hampshire.

About ChemilogicsTM

Empress’s proprietary Chemilogics product platform creates drugs by understanding how the genetic code programs cells in the human body to produce chemical compounds called metabolites, a rich source of potential small molecule medicines. The company is initially focused on metabolites produced by commensal bacteria and uses a proprietary suite of computational and genetic technologies to create small molecule compounds with favorable drug properties. The company calls its approach Chemilogics because it creates products with the valuable attributes of small molecule chemical compounds by harnessing the genetic foundation of biologics.

About Empress Therapeutics  

Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2020, Empress Therapeutics generates good medicines, fast, by starting with chemistry inside the human body. The Empress ChemilogicsTM platform uses novel insights that connect the lines of code in DNA with drug-like chemistry made in the human body to create first- or best-in-class oral medicines for a broad range of diseases quickly, predictably, and cost-effectively. For more information, visit and follow at @empress_tx.  


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