Recovering scientist turned early stage VC A biotech optimist fighting gravity

Operating Inside The Atlas Seed Portfolio
June 27, 2014

In early 2013, I enlisted as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) with the Atlas Venture life science investment team as the firm focused on a seed-led investing strategy as a core tenant of Fund IX (here).  I viewed it as a great

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Zafgen Supersizes Its Obesity-Focused IPO: An Early Investor’s Reflections
June 25, 2014

Last week we priced the IPO for Zafgen – embarking on a new phase for the company (here).  Upsized at the top of the range, the offering is a testimony to the great team and exciting story at Zafgen. In line

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A Tale of Disruptive Science, Irreproducibility, and Unanticipated Consequences
June 13, 2014

I’ve spent a significant amount of my career focused on the use of nucleic acids as therapeutic agents.  The ability of nucleic acids to act through exquisitely selective binding to other nucleic acids, proteins or other biologically active molecules provides

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Goldilocks & The Pace Of Biotech Startup Creation
June 11, 2014

How many new biotechs should the industry be starting per year?  It’s a perennially asked question, and obviously not one with an easy and straightforward answer. On the one hand, if you believe only transformational new ideas should get funding,

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Biotech’s Virtual Reality
June 4, 2014

Much has been written about the merits and demerits of the virtual biotech model.  In essence, a virtual biotech outsources all non-core activities and rejects the need for in-house laboratories.  Instead, a small internal team manages execution outside the company,

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Atlas’ IQ Just Got A Raise: Dave Grayzel
May 21, 2014

Today we’re excited to announce the addition of Dave Grayzel as a Partner on our life sciences team.  Dave has been a key contributor to our strategy since joining Atlas Venture in 2010 to lead our asset-centric, collaborative investing initiative

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Talent Acquisition: Pharma Is The Lifeblood Of Biotech
May 19, 2014

Startup Biotechs need bigger drug companies for lots of things, including R&D collaborations, investments, non-dilutive funding, and eventual liquidity via M&A. The health of today’s ecosystem depends on biotech and pharma working together. But one of the most important and

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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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