Who Will Survive the Biotech VC Downturn? The Young and the Proven

10/22/12Follow @xconomy

[Updated: 10:10 am PT, 12/10/12] Most people, if they’re being honest, don’t have a clear plan for what they’ll be doing in their careers five years from now.

But career planning is serious, high-stakes business for biotech venture capitalists. When a firm raises a new fund to invest in biotechnology, the partners have to personally commit to oversee their investments for 10 to 12 years. While most people get an annual performance review from their boss, biotech VCs generally have to wait a decade to get a true read on their performance.

I bring this issue up during a period of decline and stress in biotech ventureland, as many partners are being forced to look in the mirror and ask whether this is what they want to keep doing with their lives. Many would surely like to keep going, because the work is so darn interesting and important and—oh, yeah—lucrative. But there’s a natural shakeout going on, as less money is flowing into new biotech funds. Partners without the best track records, or the best connections, are often being forced off the island. Some folks may have to ask themselves if they have the stomach for another decade of uncertainty. Others may just figure they want to retire, or kick back at the vineyard, sometime before 2022.

Given how long it takes for a biotech fund to mature, partners in their 60s today may not want to sign up for another go-round that requires they work full-throttle into their mid-70s. So, I’ve been wondering lately which biotech VCs are the most likely to keep investing for at least another 10 to 20 years. While I know some people in their 70s with remarkable drive, one of the facts of life remains that most people are looking to slow down by that age. Talented newcomers, on the other end of the spectrum, are finding it extremely difficult to break in and prove themselves in a shrinking industry. That leaves people who are at the mid-career stage, particularly the ones with established track records, who are most likely to stay in the game.

So, I’m compiling a list of biotech venture capitalists who are both young (in their late 30s to early 50s) and proven (with at least three winning investments in which they were closely involved). This isn’t really as simple as it sounds. There’s no central database I’m aware of that lists the dates of birth of venture capitalists, or return data for individual partners. Certainly, some of the portfolio “wins” these people claim are big, and some are pretty modest. But I’ve attempted to build this “young and proven” list by asking a lot of sources for suggestions, by checking ages listed in various SEC filings, and by weeding out really small exits that appeared to be worth $50 million or less. If you see any ages that are incorrect or out of date, please let me know and I’ll correct it. I’d also love to get some more nominations from readers, since this list is by no means comprehensive. If you have other folks you’d like to nominate, just send me their age and a list of at least three big portfolio wins, and I’ll update this post.

Without further ado, here are 40 “young and proven,” biotech venture capitalists in alphabetical order, with their list of winning investments:

Noubar Afeyan [Added: 12:20 pm ET, 10/23]
Founder and Managing Partner, Flagship Ventures
Age: 50
Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)
CGI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead Sciences)
Chemgenics Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Millennium Pharmaceuticals)
BG Medicine (NASDAQ: BGMD)
Color Kinetics (acquired by Philips)

Gaurav Aggarwal [Updated:2:30 pm ET, to include NextWave acquisition]
Partner, Panorama Capital
Age: 39
Hyperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HPTX)
Flowcardia (acquired by C.R. Bard)
Piramed (acquired by Roche)
Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN)
Tranzyme (NASDAQ: TZYM)
Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACHN)
Presidio Pharmaceuticals (acquired by BioCryst)
Spinal Concepts (acquired by Abbott Laboratories)
NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)

Brent Ahrens
Managing director, Canaan Partners
Age: 49
Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion)
Durata Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DRTX)
Cerexa (acquired by Forest Laboratories)
DexCom (NASDAQ: DXCM)

Srini Akkaraju
Managing director, New Leaf Venture Partners
Age: 44
Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN)
Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ICPT)
Synageva BioPharma (NASDAQ: GEVA)
Eyetech Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals)
Presidio Pharmaceuticals (acquired by BioCryst)
Piramed (acquired by Roche)

Joe Anderson [Added:12:55 pm ET, 10/25/12]
Partner, Abingworth
Age: 53
Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN)
Algeta (OSE: ALGETA)
Cytos Biotechnology (SIX: CYTN)

Bruce Booth
Managing director, Atlas Venture
Age: 38
Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene)
Stromedix (acquired by Biogen Idec)
Prestwick Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biovail)
Proprius Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Cypress Bioscience)

Mike Carusi
General Partner, Lightstone Ventures
Age: 47
Ardian (acquired by Medtronic)
Plexxikon (acquired by Daiichi Sankyo)
TranS1 (NASDAQ: TSON)

Brian Chee
General Partner, Polaris Venture Partners
Age: 44
Ascend Health (acquired by Universal Health Services)
Asthmatx (acquired by Boston Scientific)
Free & Clear (acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations)

Doug Cole
General Partner, Flagship Ventures
Age: 52
AVEO Oncology (NASDA: AVEO)
Morphotek (acquired by Eisai Pharmaceuticals)
CombinatoRx, now Zalius (NASDAQ: ZLCS)

Alan Crane
General Partner, Polaris Venture Partners
Age: 48
Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA)
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline)
Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)

Anupam Dalal
[Added:2:50 pm ET]
Partner, Kearny Venture Partners
Age: 41
CGI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead Sciences)
Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)
NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)

Francesco De Rubertis
Partner, Index Ventures
Age: 42
Genmab (COPENHAGEN: GEN)
PanGenetics (acquired by Abbott Laboratories)
ParAllele Biosciences (acquired by Affymetrix)

Ryan Drant
General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
Age: 41
Esprit Pharma (acquired by Allergan)
ESP Pharma (acquired by PDL Biopharma)
FoxHollow Technologies (acquired by ev3)
Provation Medical (acquired by Wolters Kluwer)
Proxima Therapeutics (acquired by Cytyc)
Xcel Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals)

Bryant Fong [Added:4:40 pm ET]
Managing director, Burrill Venture Capital
Age:39
Ferrokin Biosciences (acquired by Shire)
Pharmasset (acquired by Gilead Sciences)
Corcept Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CORT)
Novadaq Technologies (NASDAQ: NVDQ)
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OGXI)

Nick Galakatos
Co-founder and managing director, Clarus Ventures
Age: 54
AVEO Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO)
Caliper Life Sciences (acquired by PerkinElmer)
Taligen Therapeutics (acquired by Alexion)
Syrrx (acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals)
Link Medicine (acquired by AstraZeneca)
Affymax (NASDAQ: AFFY)
Hypnion (acquired by Eli Lilly)

Carl Gordon [Added: 11:15 am]
Co-founder and General Partner, OrbiMed Advisors
Age: 47
Abgenix (acquired by Amgen)
Agensys (acquired by Astellas)
Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN)
Arius Research (acquired by Roche)
Vivus (NASDAQ: VVUS)
Puma Biotechnology (NASDAQ: PBYI)

James Healy [Updated: 11:30 am PT, 10/26/12 to include Prestwick and Preglim]
General Partner, Sofinnova Ventures
Age: 47
Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN)
Anthera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANTH)
Hyperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HPTX)
Durata Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DRTX)
InterMune (NASDAQ: ITMN)
Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO)
Movetis (acquired by Shire)
CoTherix (acquired by Actelion)
Cellective Therapeutics (acquired by MedImmune)
Prestwick Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biovail)
Preglem (acquired by Richter)

Patrick Heron
General Partner, Frazier Healthcare Ventures
Age: 43
Cerexa (acquired by Forest Laboratories)
Calixa (acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals)
Xenoport (NASDAQ: [[ticker:XNPT])
Trubion Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Emergent BioSolutions)
Marcadia (acquired by Roche)
MedPointe (acquired by Meda)

Wende Hutton
General Partner, Canaan Partners
Age: 52
BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi)
Heartstream (acquired by Hewlett-Packard)
Calibra Medical (acquired by Johnson & Johnson)
SenoRx (acquired by C.R. Bard)

Dan Janney
Managing director, Alta Partners
Age: 46
Cellective Therapeutics (acquired by MedImmune)
CoTherix (acquired by Actelion)
Dynavax Technologies (NASDAQ: DVAX)
Ilex Oncology (acquired by Genzyme)
InterMune (NASDAQ: ITMN)
ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Cephalon)

Alison Kiley
Director, Alta Partners
Age: 40
Esperion Therapeutics (acquired by Pfizer)
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AEGR)
Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD)

Nina Kjellson
General Partner, InterWest Partners
Age: 37
Fluidigm (NASDAQ: FLDM)
Novacardia (acquired by Merck)
Trius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: TSRX)
Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO)
Aspreva (acquired by Galenica Group)

Garheng Kong [Updated: 1:15 pm PT, 10/24/12]
General Partner, Sofinnova Ventures
Age: 37
Cempra (NASDAQ: CEMP)
Cellective Therapeutics (acquired by MedImmune)
Serenex (acquired by Pfizer)
Novamin Technologies (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline)
Alimera Sciences (NASDAQ: ALIM)
Calibra Medical (acquired by Johnson & Johnson)

Thong Le
Managing director, WRF Capital
Age: 36
Corus Pharma (acquired by Gilead Sciences)
Hyperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HPTX)
Pathway Medical Technologies (acquired by Bayer)
Halosource (public on the London Stock Exchange)

Heath Lukatch [Added:10:25 am PT 10/31/12]
Partner, Novo Ventures
Age: 45
Amira Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)
FoldRx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)
Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals)
Synosia (acquired by BioTie)
InSound Medical (acquired by Sonova)
Fluidigm (NASDAQ: FLDM)
Dynavax (NASDAQ: DVAX)
AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AGRX)
Favrille (NASDAQ: FVRL)

Dayton Misfeldt
[Updated:2:30 pm ET to include NextWave acquisition]
Investment Partner, Bay City Capital
Age: 38
Pharmion (acquired by Celgene)
MAP Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MAPP)
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SNSS)
Oculex Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Allergan)
NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)

Bob More
General partner, Frazier Healthcare Ventures
Age: 45
Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ: CLVS)
NovaCardia (acquired by Merck)
Esprit Pharma (acquired by Allergan)
Proxima Therapeutics (acquired by Cytyc)
IntraLase (acquired by Advanced Medical Optics)
ESP Pharma (acquired by PDL Biopharma)
Oceana Therapeutics (acquired by Salix Pharmaceuticals)

Amir Nashat
General Partner, Polaris Venture Partners
Age: 39
Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene)
Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)
Athenix (acquired by Bayer)

Bob Nelsen [Updated 12/10/12]
Co-founder and managing director, ARCH Venture Partners
Age: 49
deCode Genetics (acquired by Amgen) [Added: 12/10/12]
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN)
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY)
Aviron (acquired by MedImmune)
Array Biopharma (NASDAQ: ARRY)
Ikaria (exit achieved through private financing/dividend payment)
Caliper Life Sciences (acquired by PerkinElmer)
Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KYTH)
Xenoport (NASDAQ: XNPT)
Omeros (NASDAQ: OMER)
Trubion Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Emergent BioSolutions)
Adolor (acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals)
GenVec (NASDAQ: GNVC)
Genomica (acquired by Exelixis)
Idun Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)

Brendan O’ Leary [Added:11:40 am ET]
General Partner, Prism VentureWorks
Age: 40
BioRexis Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer)
Serica (acquired by Allergan)
Atritech (acquired by Boston Scientific)
Trius Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TSRX)

Adele Oliva
Partner, Quaker Partners
Age: 45
Prometheus Laboratories (acquired by Nestle)
Ascent Healthcare Solutions (acquired by Stryker)
ESP Pharma (acquired by PDL Biopharma)
Esprit Pharma (acquired by Allergan)

Deepa Pakianathan [Updated:3:10 pm ET]
General Partner, Delphi Ventures
Age: 47
Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN)
Proteolix (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals)
Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen)
Salmedix (acquired by Cephalon)
KAI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen)
Alexza Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXA)

Bryan Roberts
Partner, Venrock Associates
Age: 45
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD)
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN)
AthenaHealth (NASDAQ: ATHN)
Xenoport (NASDAQ: XNPT)
Ikaria (shareholder dividend payment)
Sirna Therapeutics (acquired by Merck)
Corderyte (acquired by 3M)
Zeltiq Aesthetics (NASDAQ: ZLTQ)
Ensure Medical (acquired by Johnson & Johnson)

Bijan Salehizadeh
Co-founder and managing director, NaviMed Capital Advisors
Age: 39
Hyperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HPTX)
AVEO Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO)
Barrx Medical (acquired by Covidien)
Conor Medsystems (acquired by Johnson & Johnson)

Camille Samuels*Samuels plans to stay in venture capital, but half time vs. full-time is still to be determined.
Managing director, Versant Ventures
Age: 41
Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KYTH)
Novacardia (acquired by Merck)
ParAllele Bioscience (acquired by Affymetrix)

David Schnell
Co-founder and managing director, Prospect Venture Partners
Age: 52
Gloucester Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Celgene)
Rinat Neurosciences (acquired by Pfizer)
Amira Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb)
Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KYTH)
Trubion Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Emergent BioSolutions)
Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ: NBIX)

Andy Schwab [Added:4:20 pm ET]
Co-founder and Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures
Age: 41
Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen)
Panomics (acquired by Affymetrix)
Ikaria (shareholder dividend)
Synosia (acquired by Biotie)

Jonathan Silverstein [Added: 11:15 am ET]
Partner, OrbiMed Advisors
Age: 45
Adiana (acquired by Cytic)
Bioenvision (acquired by Genzyme)
Cerexa (acquired by Forest)
Enobia (acquired by Alexion)
Given Imaging ((NASDAQ: GIVN)
Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD)
Intercept (NASDAQ: INCP)
LifeCell (acquired by Kinetic Concepts)
NxStage (NASDAQ: NXTM)
Peninsula Pharmaceuticals (acquired by JNJ)
SuperDimension (acquired by Covidien)

Risa Stack
Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Age: 43
Trius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: TSRX)
Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ: PACB)
Corthera (acquired by Novartis)

Jamie Topper
General partner, Frazier Healthcare Ventures
Age: 50
Calistoga Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead Sciences)
Alnara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly)
CoTherix (acquired by Actelion)

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