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Planting Fidelity's seeds

Why Fidelity decided to help create neurodegenerative play Denali

Fidelity Biosciences Research Initiative has helped create a neurodegenerative disease company that could serve as a repository for the discoveries stemming from seed investments in academia that FBRI has quietly been making for the past six years. The newco, Denali Therapeutics Inc., debuted last week with $217 million.

"While Fidelity Biosciences is disease-agnostic, we're mission driven and are focused on neurodegeneration," said Stacie Weninger, executive director of FBRI. "We find and fund everything from basic research in academia to early stage company research before a VC would get interested."

FBRI is a division of Fidelity Biosciences, a venture firm that itself is a division of the financial conglomerate Fidelity Investments. In academia, FBRI provides what Weninger terms "catalyst funding," or a couple of years of financial support designed to get a project to the stage where it can attract early academic grant support or even traditional venture funding.

FBRI's investment in the neurodegeneration field

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