Fries was born in Alsace around 1490 and studied medicine at university. Having successfully completed his education, Fries established himself as a physician and settled in Strasbourg, in about 1519.
He wrote on medical topics and met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Gruninger, an associate of the St. Die group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. Gruninger was responsible for printing several of the maps prepared by Waldseemuller, and for supervising the cutting the wood blocks for the maps, for the 1513 edition of Ptolemy, edited by the group.
The major project that Fries and Gruninger worked on was a new edition of the Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy, which was published by Johann Koberger in 1522.
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