Former CombinatoRx CEO Alexis Borisy Lands at Third Rock Ventures, Launches New Startup

2/11/10

Alexis Borisy is back in company-building mode. The former CEO of the drug developer CombinatoRx tells Xconomy that he has joined Third Rock Ventures in Boston as an entrepreneur in residence—and he’s already at the helm of a secretive new life sciences firm called Foundation Medicine.

Borisy gave few details on the startup, other than saying that the firm is focused on personalized medicine. He was more forthcoming, though, about his new role at Third Rock, whose team he quietly joined in early October, about four months after officially stepping down from his post as chief executive of Cambridge, MA-based CombinatoRx (NASDAQ:CRXX).

Borisy’s departure from CombinatoRx, a developer of combination drugs that he co-founded in 2000, was revealed in July when the company announced its merger with NeuroMed Pharmaceuticals. Borisy is officially a scientific advisor to CombinatoRx, but he says that he isn’t spending much time working with the company.

He and Third Rock partner Mark Levin have been discussing new entrepreneurial opportunities in biotech for the past year. Third Rock, which was launched in 2007 with a $378 million initial fund, is appealing to Borisy because the firm is focused on backing life sciences startups with the potential to fundamentally improve how certain diseases are treated, he says, and the firm’s members often take active roles at the companies in which it invests.

“When we founded Third Rock, we realized great companies take more than just great science; they require passionate people who share our commitment to making a difference for patients,” Third Rock partner Kevin Starr said, in an e-mail. “Alexis is one of those rare people that has the tools to take a disruptive idea and transform it into an exciting vision for a company that will have a significant impact. He has made a big difference in the firm already and we are all very excited to work with him on our next generation of companies.”

As an entrepreneur in residence, Borisy has an office at Third Rock’s Newbury Street headquarters and spends time with other members of the firm assessing and pursuing opportunities to start or invest in companies. And he places particular emphasis on pitching in as an executive of young portfolio companies, he says.

Borisy’s interests have recently focused on the field of … Next Page »

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