Rank #1: Colin Cahill’s Venrock Diagram
In this episode, Colin deconstructs some of the great VC mysteries:
How do they decide which deals to do, since “there’s no rules-based decision paradigm for venture investing”?
Why, when other VCs have run screaming from med devices, has Venrock retained its breadth?
And what does “falling in love” mean when a venture capitalist says it?
Apr 30 2016
Rank #2: Stacey Seltzer on VC: Timing Timing Timing
If the mantra in real estate is location location location, for venture capital it might just be timing timing timing. Stacey Seltzer made the move from big pharma into venture capital during a financial crisis and has gone on to build a wildly diverse portfolio of healthcare companies at Aisling Capital. She takes us on a tour of some of the highlights, and reveals what venture capitalists do for fun.
Feb 28 2017
Rank #3: The Art of Pappas
Art Pappas had an extensive, international career in the pharma industry before going on to form his eponymous VC firm in the 90s. Pappas Ventures has been partnering with pharma ever since: licensing assets from them, selling portfolio companies to them, syndicating with them, and managing venture funds for them. But perhaps most notable is the list of pharma and strategic limited partners they brought together to invest in their newest fund — Pappas V — it’s a record, even for them.
Mar 31 2017
Rank #4: Bill Newell: Sutro has an Unfair Advantage
Where other biotechs find scientific challenges can threaten their survival, with Sutro it comes down to strategic challenges. And Bill has led them to enviable partnerships, capital, and optionality.
Sutro has an unfair advantage: Bill Newell.
Aug 31 2016
Rank #5: Stéphane Bancel: The Messenger is the Medium
Its financial position may be the envy of its biotech neighbors, but it is also polarizing. It has generated intrigue and invited scrutiny, including in a recent article that questioned both the science and culture under its CEO, Stéphane Bancel. Quite the juxtaposition since it was just announced that Moderna is - again - one of Science’s Top Employers, and has even moved up in the ranks. What is going on over there?
In this episode, Stéphane is the messenger. He takes us inside the how and why of Moderna.
Oct 31 2016
Rank #6: Brian Bloom: Hockey Sticks and Cheerleaders Do Not Go Together
With a mission to uncover and cultivate Canadian life sciences companies through scientific focus and range of services, Bloom Burton & Co., which he co-founded in 2008, has risen swiftly to be profitable and globally unique.
And its Bloom Burton Healthcare Investor Conference achieved actual hockey stick growth since it broke onto the Canadian biotech scene 5 years ago.
But hockey and cheerleaders do not go together. Brian’s knowledge of the Canadian biotech scene, and his seat on umpteen boards, leads him to a frank, no-apologies stance on the industry.
Jul 31 2016
Rank #7: Glen de Vries has his Head in the Cloud
Glen explains how he plans to reach escape velocity with no exit strategy.
And how he keeps his feet on the dance floor and head in the cloud.
Dec 08 2016
Rank #8: Barry Kappel and Gerard Honig – Live!
Held at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, it was a beautiful day in pre-election times. If you listen closely you can hear local wildlife in the background: birds chirping and (the) James Watson roaring around campus in his Porsche.
I asked them about their startup companies, and after they critiqued the VC industry, I gave them a pop quiz.
Nov 17 2016
Rank #9: Greg Verdine will not take “undruggable” for an answer
He has teamed up with Third Rock Ventures, TPG Biotech, AppleTree Partners, and he unveils his brand new gig with WuXi Ventures.
Greg co-founded the biotechs Enanta (ENTA), Tokai (TKAI), Gloucester (now Celgene), Aileron, Warp Drive, WaVe (WVE), and Fog. His day job today, if forced to list just one, is CSO of Warp Drive Bio. He reveals a couple of secrets about Warp Drive strategy and lifts the fog off of Fog Pharma, his latest – and still stealth – newco.
As different as these companies are, a common theme runs through them: to cure the incurable by drugging the undruggable. With apologies to Star Trek, that is Greg’s personal mission: to boldly go where no drug has gone before.
In fact Greg wants to blow up the conventional meaning for the word "drug". He sees beyond the pharma industry’s small molecules plus the biotech industry’s biologics, because they seem positively “puny” in the context of human biology. And he has clever tricks and other modalities at his disposal – not to mention the blueprints: 135,000 bacterial genomes, where the answers cannot hide.
Mar 16 2016
Rank #10: Ron Cohen: Founder & Confounder (Part 1)
Ron discusses his road from Jeopardy! champion to entrepreneur, the role played by his flat head and great hair, and what on earth could motivate someone to invest in drug development. He also explains how upstate NY does not start at 96th St.
The two-part interview continues in the following episode, Part 2.
Jan 06 2016