Meet Dawn Blessing, MBA, TESS Scientific Advisory Board Member

Meet Dawn Blessing, MBA, TESS Scientific Advisory Board Member

How did you become involved with our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)? 

I met Kim Nye in 2017 via our mutual friend and rare disease advocate, Matt Wilsey, founder and CEO of Grace Science. Kim’s positive attitude, friendly disposition, humor, and optimism quickly convinced me that working with her organization would be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Since then, I have a close working relationship with Tanya Brown, PhD, TESS’ Scientific Director, who brings superb scientific and strategic insight to the organization and contributes to the organization’s infectious positive culture.

What is your current role outside of TESS Research Foundation? 

I am currently Chief Business Officer at Neucore Bio, a seed-stage company that is developing exosome therapeutics for genetically driven diseases. I also serve on the Board of the Cure GM1 Foundation.

What inspires you to contribute your time and skills as an SAB member? 

After 20 years in rare disease, I continue to be motivated by the tremendous unmet need of children impacted by severe, destructive, and life threatening illnesses. The impact on the patients and their families is immeasurable and simultaneously challenging to address given the extraordinary costs of drug development. There are many in the field who are working to alleviate the challenges of rare disease drug development and I am happy to help and support through my work with TESS Research Foundation.

From your perspective, what are the most pressing challenges or opportunities facing our SLC13A5 community in terms of scientific research and development? 

Rare disease has been an area of active investment by VCs, biotechnology companies, and Big Pharma for approximately 20+ years. In the last couple of years, investor sentiment has turned away from rare disease and focused on larger indications. As a result, many rare disease programs in development by Industry have been halted or shelved, including the very promising SLC13A5 gene therapy program. Many rare disease organizations, including TESS Research Foundation, are currently working hard to continue development of our rare disease therapeutic pipeline, in some way or fashion, during this period of low funding. These efforts are heroic and I am optimistic patients will benefit from them.

What is one thing you have learned from volunteering with TESS Research Foundation? 

Be positive.

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