Biotech Veteran Talks of Hedge Fund Investing, Boston Celtics, and Hot Companies

12/18/08

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occasionally. I guess I value too much the flexibility I have now to do more than one thing. I have total control over my schedule. When I worked for Vertex for nearly 12 years, I was working 90 hours a week—flat out. When I left Vertex, I pretty much made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to take another operating role where I was constantly traveling and having to be places all the time. So I try to maintain my flexibility while doing challenging and exciting things. It’s worked out pretty well.

X: Which biotech companies—besides the ones where you are a director or an investor—do you think are the most exciting?

A: I think Alnylam is an exciting company. They’ve got a broad base [of technology in the field of RNA-interference], and they’ve been able to leverage that with some pretty big deals. So they are in a pretty strong position to capture the value.

X: Did you talk to Celtics guard Ray Allen after his son was diagnosed with diabetes during the championship series with the Los Angels Lakers this year?

A: I talked a little bit with his wife. They had a pretty tense time; it [happened] out in L.A. that they got the diagnosis, because [his son Walker] got very ill, very quickly. All I said to her was that it’s a good thing that he’s young and time is on his side. There are certainly current treatments and therapies that should keep him in good shape, and he should benefit from the many [treatments] under development in the years and decades ahead.

X: What are your thoughts about Sirtris CEO Christoph Westphal’s new position as senior vice president of Glaxo’s Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery?

A: When GSK bought Sirtris, they were effectively buying two things. One was Sirtris’ technology and its pipeline, but the other thing they were buying was Christoph. He’s a uniquely talented entrepreneur who has a really good eye for science, and potentially valuable science. I think GSK’s been smart enough to realize that, and they put him in a position where he will not only continue to drive Sirtris ahead as an independent entity within [GSK], but at the same time … Next Page »

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