Atlas Wins A Rhodes’ Scholarship

Posted September 29th, 2014 in Atlas Venture

Thrilled to announce today that Jason Rhodes is joining Atlas!

Many of you already know Jason, but here’s the scoop. He was the President aChomitz2614_JCP0711_Jasonnd CFO at Epizyme, where he was instrumental in architecting the company’s incredible journey from epigenetics drug discovery through successful IPO and billion-dollar valuation.  Prior to Epizyme, Jason worked at Atlas’ former portfolio company Alnylam here in Cambridge as VP of Business Development.

Beyond the obvious, there are several attributes that make him a perfect fit for Atlas.

First, he’s a company-builder.  We start and build new biotech companies, and his complement of passions and skills are a great fit with the de novo venture creation model we have at Atlas.  He joined Epizyme when it was still a young company in the midst of drug discovery campaigns.

Second, he’s an accomplished deal-maker.  In a world where Big BioPharma and startup biotech continue converging, having solid deal-making skills on a venture team is very helpful.  Jason led deals for Epizyme and Alnylam that raised more than $380M in non-dilutive funding for those companies over the past decade, including ones with Celgene, GSK, Eisai, Takeda, Isis, and many others. Knowing the art of the deal is an acquired skill, and Jason has it in spades.

Third, he knows venture investing.  His prior track record as a founding member of Fidelity Biosciences is very stellar, backing companies like Ironwood, FoldRx, and Tetraphase, and there won’t be any learning curve for jumping back into the venture mindset.

Lastly, and frankly most importantly, he’s a great guy and fantastic cultural fit with us. In order to have a culture of true “champion and challenge” in a partnership, it requires a shared set of values and mutual respect. We also think it requires a flat and equal partnership – no senior or junior hierarchies with “partners” in name only – a true set of partners working together to create great companies and deliver great returns.2014-09-12 12.31.02-2

We’ve known Jason for a long time, and come to both respect him and enjoy spending time with him both in and outside of work.  For instance, I recently spent 36 hours in a stinky van with him during the 200-mile Reach The Beach relay race.  I do, of course, like adding another runner to the ranks of Atlas partnership as well, especially since I can’t get Peter, Jean-Francois, or Dave out on the road with me.  Even runners with
retro headbands and one-legged compression socks.  Love the team spirit.

It’s been an exciting year for Atlas’ life science team, with Jason’s addition today and Dave stepping up in May (here).  These two new partners reflect the increasing momentum we’re feeling around Atlas’ early stage life science investing strategy – to discover, derisk, shape, and strengthen our emerging portfolio of biotech startups.  Looking forward to the future.

Welcome on board, Jason!




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