Governor’s Life Sciences Agency Makes Key Hire with MIT and Pharma Connections

9/24/08

The agency charged with running Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion life sciences initiative has tapped an executive with venture capital experience to help form relationships with key industry players.

Luis Barros, an MIT Sloan School alum and veteran of the VC arm at drug giant Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Lilly Ventures, has accepted the newly created post of senior vice president of industry relations for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC). Barros reports to MLSC president Susan Windham-Bannister. Windham-Bannister, in fact, made it clear in her recent interview with Xconomy that making key hires is one of her top priorities to help advance the governor’s plan to invest $1 billion in the life sciences sector in the state over 10 years.

Barros, who declined to comment for this post because he hasn’t officially begun work at the MLSC, has been working as a healthcare consultant in recent months after he left his post as executive vice president of I.C. Sciences, a Boston medical informatics company founded by Peter Nicholas Jr., the son of a co-founder of Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX). Barros previously served as a principal at Lilly Ventures, where he managed a portfolio of startups of strategic interest to its Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical parent. Here’s a link to his biography, which says he was born in Cape Verde and speaks fluent Kriolu and Portuguese.

Time will tell how Barros’ experience in venture investing plays into his new role at the MLSC. Sources indicate that his duties include, as his title suggests, serving as a liaison with life sciences companies and industry groups. Indeed, the success of the state’s life sciences initiative depends heavily on attracting industry to invest in the Commonwealth. For Barros, his new post also appears to be a shift from his previous focus at I.C. Sciences, where he served as head of a division focused on studying the convergence of the Internet and medicine (also called Health 2.0). Still, if the state wanted someone with top academic and pharma connections, they’ve found their man.

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