Apple Tree Partners Recruits Noted Biotech Entrepreneur and Computer-Aided Drug Design Pioneer Matthew P. Jacobson, Ph.D., as New Venture Partner


Jacobson, an eminent research scientist working across disciplines including computational biophysics, physical chemistry, quantum mechanics, rational drug design, and protein structure prediction, has founded several successful companies including Global Blood Therapeutics, Relay Therapeutics, and Nine Square Therapeutics

Jacobson joins a team of venture partners at ATP creating and building new biotech companies based on transformative scientific advances

NEW YORK and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, July 11, 2023 – Apple Tree Partners (ATP), a leader in life sciences venture capital, announced today that Matthew P. Jacobson, Ph.D., serial biotech entrepreneur and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), has joined ATP as a venture partner. In this role, he will identify opportunities for new life sciences investments and company creation and provide strategic expertise to ATP’s portfolio companies. He will be based in ATP’s South San Francisco office.

Dr. Jacobson’s research interests are in the areas of computational biophysics and computer-aided drug design; he is the author of more than 200 publications and several patents. He presently devotes most of his time to biotech entrepreneurship and has co-founded six successful biotech companies in the past dozen years. His first, Global Blood Therapeutics, received accelerated FDA approval for Oxybryta (voxelotor) in sickle cell disease in 2019 and was acquired by Pfizer in 2022 for $5.4 billion. Other companies he has co-founded include Relay Therapeutics, which currently has four targeted oncology candidates in clinical development; Circle Pharma, a designer of precision macrocycle therapeutics; and ATP portfolio company Nine Square Therapeutics, focused on discovering small molecules to boost autophagy/mitophagy to treat ALS, Parkinson’s, and other life-threatening neurodegenerative diseases.

“We have enjoyed a productive working relationship with Matt for several years, and we are delighted to formally welcome him to ATP as a venture partner and scientific advisor,” said Seth Harrison, M.D., Apple Tree Partners’ founder and Managing Partner. “Matt joins us at a time when we are expanding our academic collaborations in California, and his network and knowledge across that ecosystem will further ATP’s work to found new life sciences companies in the region. Beyond California, Matt brings unique expertise that applies across our current portfolio that we believe will provide our companies with substantial competitive advantages.”

“Over the past decade I have become deeply passionate about biotech entrepreneurship, driven by the goal of developing therapies to ameliorate grievous disease,” Dr. Jacobson said. “I am excited to join ATP, because they bring together the key ingredients to enable success in this challenging and urgent endeavor: great science, great people, and great execution.”

Dr. Jacobson was an undergraduate at Stanford, earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at MIT, and then completed post-doctoral research at Oxford University and at Columbia University. He became a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at USCF in 2002, received tenure in 2007, and subsequently served as Director of the Graduate Group in Biophysics and then chair of his department. At UCSF, he received the NSF CAREER Award, the most prestigious award given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education, as well as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and several UCSF School of Pharmacy teaching awards. He served on the editorial boards of eight journals, including Biochemistry, PLoS Computational Biology, and Structure. Software written by Dr. Jacobson and his collaborators is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, and he served as a scientific advisor to Schrödinger, Inc., for two decades.


About Apple Tree Partners

Founded in 1999, Apple Tree Partners (ATP) is a leader in life sciences venture capital, with $2.65 billion in committed capital and offices in New York, London, San Francisco, and Cambridge, MA. ATP creates companies starting at various stages, from pre-IP ideas to asset spinouts, investing in them from seed stage through IPO and beyond. The core of ATP’s strategy is providing flexible capital and access to a world-class team of venture partners and EIRs, to build sustainable, research-driven enterprises that deliver therapeutics to improve human lives. For more information, visit


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