Recovering scientist turned early stage VC A biotech optimist fighting gravity

Risk: A User’s Guide For Drug Developers
May 14, 2014

In my last post, I argued that the key to the success – and perhaps even the survival – of the biopharma industry is to excel at risk management. We are in an inherently risky business, where there are thousands of

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Leveraging Nature’s Experiments: Mitigating Drug Discovery Risks Through Human Genetics
May 8, 2014

Extreme clinical phenotypes caused by rare genetic variations have been the basis of some of the most exciting drug targets in today’s pharmaceutical pipeline: PCSK9 in cholesterol, sclerostin in bone diseases, Nav1.7 for pain.  The rare gene signatures underlying these

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FLINT, NASH, And Biotech: How Big Things Happen
May 6, 2014

On January 9th, 2014, Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) released a very interesting piece of news regarding their Phase 2 FLINT (Farnesoid X Receptor Ligand Obeticholic Acid in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Treatment) trial.  FLINT, a test of their FXR agonist obeticholic acid (OCA)

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Startup Tech Incubator Announces Biotech Experiments
April 28, 2014

Last week Y Combinator, the well-known and very successful technology startup incubator, announced that it was going to begin experimenting with biotech startups.  This announcement came as a surprise to many.  Several good posts on the subject appeared after a

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Building Great Startup Teams In Biotech: A Three Hour Tour
April 18, 2014

Great teams build great companies, and biotech startups are no exception.   I’ve collected a few observations on great teams while collaborating at Atlas on more than half a dozen startups that have made it past the high-risk seed stage

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Pushing Forward With Collaborative R&D Models In Biotech: Roche-Spero And Biogen-Ataxion
April 9, 2014

With today’s announcement of Roche’s deal with Spero Therapeutics LLC (here), and last month’s news regarding Biogen’s deal with Ataxion (here), we’ve added further momentum to our strategy of working closely with larger BioPharma partners to create innovative “external R&D”

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Running A Biotech Startup Prussian Style
April 8, 2014

Doing more with less, hanging on to fight the next fight, putting out fires on multiple fronts are all de rigueur here at the Atlas Venture NewCo factory (aptly coined by brother-in-arms, @michael_gilman).  Our seed model (here, here) focuses on

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Tradeoffs and Timing: IPO vs. M&A Decision Making in Biotech
April 2, 2014

In light of the continued interest in biotech IPOs by the capital markets, there’s probably not a venture-backed biotech boardroom that hasn’t been discussing the merits of going public. Whether warranted or not, taking a company public via an IPO

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Encouraging Biotech Innovation
March 31, 2014

Let’s face it, biotech entrepreneurs are innovation junkies.  We desperately want to deploy the most novel technologies to solve difficult problems in medicine and deliver new, life changing medicines for patients who need our help.  Independent of additional factors that

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Transformational Late Stage Drugs Delivered Through Deal-Making
March 21, 2014

Today’s biopharma industry has a richer and more exciting late stage pipeline of compelling new therapeutics than its had in years, drawing lots of enthusiasm from analysts and investors.  Goldman Sachs (GS) recently published a report on the “10 drugs

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Chemistry’s Age of Enlightenment
March 20, 2014

Despite many decades of success, small molecule drug discovery appears to be increasingly challenged.  The likelihood of approval of a small molecule at phase 1 is approximately half that of a biologic; pharma companies have shifted their pipelines dramatically towards

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The Rookie Year and the Biotech CEO
March 12, 2014

Five years ago I stepped into my first (and so far only) CEO role. It seems impossible that it was five years ago but I definitely still remember many moments from my rookie year as a CEO – both successes

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