Xconomy is sad to report that Alex Barkas, a prominent biotech venture capitalist with Prospect Venture Partners, died suddenly on Monday.
He was 64. The cause of death hasn’t been determined, but it was sudden and unexpected, said David Schnell, a longtime colleague and fellow managing director at Prospect.
“Alex was genuinely a wonderful person, partner and friend and will be missed by many,” Schnell said in an email.
Barkas was a managing director of all the Prospect funds, dating back to 1997, and before that was a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, according to his biography on the Prospect website. He served on the boards of multiple biotech companies over the years, including Geron (NASDAQ: GERN), Complete Genomics (NASDAQ: GNOM), Amicus, Tercica, and Novacept, among others.
Prospect posted a brief memorial to Barkas on its website, which said:
“Alex was an extraordinary father, and husband, friend and colleague, deeply admired and respected by all who had the special privilege to know and work with him,” the statement said. “Alex brought passion, wisdom, sincerity and an unrivaled love of life. Alex leaves behind for us a legacy of hope and commitment to achieve greatness with kindness, care and perseverance. He will be very deeply missed.”
Drew Senyei, the managing director at Enterprise Partners Venture Capital in San Diego, said he served on the Complete Genomics board with Barkas and knew him for 25 years. Here’s what he said in an e-mail this morning:
“The venture world lost too soon a true visionary who will be greatly missed by everyone he touched,” Senyei wrote. “Alex leaves a legacy of great companies in healthcare that were shaped by his passion for excellence and innovation. My deepest condolences for his family.”
Bob Nelsen, a managing director with Arch Venture Partners in Seattle, added: “Its a tragic loss for his family, friends and for the industry. Alex was one of the great early-stage biotech investors. He was not afraid to create companies that were against the conventional wisdom, and he was more often right.”
If you have any memories of your experiences with Barkas you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.