David Berry, M.D., PhD., (born February 10, 1978) is an American inventor, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and CEO. Berry has co-founded and helped build over 20 companies in life sciences, technology, and sustainability. He was selected as a 2014 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2007, he was named as the Innovator of the Year by the MIT Technology Review TR35 list of one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. He speaks globally on topics such as innovation and entrepreneurship.
Berry was born in New York City in 1978. He graduated Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY in 1996. Berry graduated with a S.B. Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. He was awarded his PhD from the Biological Engineering Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completing his thesis in the labs of Robert Langer and Ram Sasisekharan. Berry earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 2006. He was recognized in 2005 with the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for invention and innovation.
Berry joined Flagship Pioneering, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based venture capital firm that invests in and founds companies in healthcare and sustainability, in 2005 where he is a General Partner. The firm has more than $1.7 billion under management. Since inception, Flagship has conceived and launched over 40 first-in-class companies through VentureLabs and supported another nearly 50 best-in-class companies. Berry has been described "a rising star of the Boston-area venture capital scene," and "one of the most brilliant thinkers." Berry has founded over 20 companies including Seres Therapeutics (NADAQ: MCRB), Evelo Biosciences, Joule Unlimited, Axcella Health, Eleven Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: EBIO), Indigo Agriculture, and LS9 (acquired by Renewable Energy Group). Berry was involved in the launching of T2 (NASDAQ: TTOO) and Seventh Sense among others.
Berry has been an author of 14 scientific papers and over 150 patent applications.
Berry is a member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Berry is a trustee at the Hackley School, and a board member of the Juventas New Music Ensemble.
Berry previously served as a member of the corporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2006-2011. He was previously a board member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2012, Berry founded Seres Therapeutics, a company that develops a new class of therapeutics based on insights into the biology of the human microbiome. Seres Health has developed a new approach to functionally assess the changes of the microbiome associated with disease, and identifies a consortia of organisms that can catalyze a shift to health. The company raised over $130M as a private company, including a $65M investment from Nestle Health Sciences. Seres publicly listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol MCRB in June 2015, raising $134M. The company's stock had the second best first day performance of any stock after its IPO since 2000, reaching a valuation of $2B. Seres signed a partnership valued at $2B with Nestle Health Sciences in early 2016.
Seres lead, SER-109 was advanced into the clinic for recurrent C. difficile where it clinically cured 29 out of 30 patients. The FDA has granted SER-109 Orphan Drug, as well as Breakthrough Therapy, designations. SER-109 is current in a Phase 2 trial for recurrent C. difficile which is fully enrolled with data due in 2016.
The company is also developing therapeutics for ulcerative colitis (SER-287), metabolic diseases, and other infectious disease. A Phase 1b clinical trial was launched testing SER-287 in ulcerative colitis in 2015.
Seres has developed the first therapeutic product composed by a defined consortia, and has launched a clinical trial with SER-262 in primary C. difficile infection.
In 2014, Berry founded Evelo Therapeutics, which is built upon the leading therapeutics discovery and development platform based on the human immuno-microbiome. The immune-microbiome is the newly appreciated organ system comprising the immune system and the microbiome. The company is developing onco-microbials to treat cancer and immune-microbials to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disease. The company plans for clinical trials starting in 2017, and has been funded with over $40M from Flagship Pioneering. The company is a key participant in the White House Microbiome Initiative.
In 2007, Berry founded Joule Unlimited, which is developing Solar Fuels—drop-in fuels produced directly from the sun. Joule is pioneering solar fuels through a new technology that coverts sunlight, carbon dioxide, and salt water into drop-in fuels for prices as low as $20. The company recruited former Total CEO and Alcatel CEO Serge Tchuruk as its CEO. In March 2010 and again in March 2011, Joule was named by Technology Review as one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies. Joule was named as one of the 10 most important emerging technologies in 2011. Joule's unique and innovative approach to fuels led to its being named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2012 and to its receiving the Silver Medal in the 2011 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards. Joule's technology has now been successfully scaled to a demonstration facility, and the company has announced a commercial partnership with Audi. Berry has been recognized multiple times as one of the top people in bioenergy by Biofuels Digest.
In 2009, Berry founded Axcella Health, which is pioneering a new approach to unlock the vast untapped therapeutic potential of proteins in the human diet. Amino acid biology is fundamental to life, regulating biological pathways critical to health. A variety of conditions occur when amino acid pathways become dysregulated. Axcella Health is developing first-in-class solutions to these conditions. Using insights from a clinically validated body of evidence, Axcella is pioneering new nutritional and therapeutic modalities. This novel approach allows the precise targeting of biology that was previously inaccessible, providing a unique opportunity to address over 2000 serious diseases and medical conditions, such as muscle wasting disorders, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and critical care conditions. The company has recruited former Domantis CEO Bob Connelly as its CEO, former Vertex CSO Peter Mueller as its President of R&D, former Vertex Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medicine Development and Affairs Chris Wright as its CMO, and former Managing Director and founder of the biotechnology franchise at Goldman Sachs Garry Menzel as Chief Business and Strategy Officer. Former CEO of Sanofi, Chris Viehbacher, joined the company's Board of Directors, along with Greg Behar, CEO of Nestle Health Sciences. The company has raised over $100M, has completed eight clinical studies, and was named by Forbes as the hottest healthcare startup in 2015.
In 2014, Berry founded Indigo which is pioneering microbial solutions that naturally promote plant health and improve agricultural production by harnessing the beneficial microbes that reside within plants. Plants live in harmony with their microbiome. The plant microbiome has been an unappreciated means to change agriculture for the better. The company has raised over $60M, has over 40,000 microbial sequences, and consistently measured a 10% yield benefit during testing.
In 2005, Berry founded LS9, with Chris Somerville, Jay Keasling, and George M. Church, which uses synthetic biology to engineer microorganisms to covert sustainable, plant-based materials into low-carbon fuels and chemicals. LS9 has successfully built on technologies he invented with other co-founders to produce a scalable platform for renewable fuels and chemicals. This technology was successfully scaled to a fully operational 135,000L facility in Okeechobee, Florida. The impact and importance of LS9's technology led to its being named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2008 and its being awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest environmental honor. LS9 was acquired by Renewable Energy Group in 2014.