Rich Aldrich, Biotech Powerbroker, Breaks Silence on New $87M Longwood Founders Fund
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pleased with the opportunity they currently have to add value for GSK, both as employees and through Longwood.
X: How much time do each of the partners think they will be able to devote to Longwood, given their other commitments?
RA: We have a consistent track record of active involvement in creating and developing important companies, which have resulted in important medicines for patients and value for investors. Longwood is the No. 1 commitment for all of us.
X: How did the idea for Longwood arise? What was the timeline for the firm’s evolution from concept to reality?
RA: We started the fund as an extension of what we were already doing pretty successfully. For example, prior to forming Longwood, we started Sirtris in 2004, built it, and sold it to GSK in 2008. GSK is currently developing a potentially important Sirtris NCE [new chemical entity] to treat diseases of aging. In 2008, we started Alnara, which in January 2009 filed an NDA [new drug application] for the approval of liprotamase, a drug to treat children with cystic fibrosis. We sold Alnara to Lilly in July 2009, and liprotamase is currently under FDA review. We feel with our own fund, we can continue to be successful investors and developers of important new healthcare technology, but on a broader scale.
X: How much will the location of companies factor into your decisions about whether to invest in them? Will most of your portfolio companies be in the Boston area?
RA: We think Boston is the best place in the world to access really innovative biomedical science and experienced biotech entrepreneurs. So our bias will be to start companies here. We are very “hands on” and it is easier to help management build a company and solve problems when you can meet with them face-to-face weekly or even daily. That said, if a great opportunity emerges on the West Coast, Europe, or even Asia, we will certainly consider it.