Team Atlas Expands Its Roster With Kevin Bitterman

Posted June 1st, 2017 in Atlas Venture, Talent

We’re excited to announce Kevin Bitterman has joined Atlas Venture as a partner!

Kevin is well known in the Boston biotech ecosystem, having spent the last dozen-plus years on the life science team at Polaris Partners. He brings a great mix of experiences, skills, and interests to the team, and is a superb fit with the group.

Kevin trained as a molecular biologist, getting a PhD in David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard where his work focused on chromatin silencing, cellular metabolism, and stress response pathways (the latter of which has helped him become a great board member). He also learned to appreciate the true joy of endlessly splitting HEK293 cells into new culture flasks, so understands both the inspiration and perspiration required in science. The desire to move those insights from bench to bedside – and the accompanying potential to impact patients – is what really drives him, and is a core belief we share here at Atlas. We all embrace science-first investing with the mission of “doing well by doing good”.

To sum up his venture experience, he’s a passionate early stage company-builder who is particularly excited by difficult-to-solve problems. As the founding CEO of Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT), Kevin was instrumental in creating and launching one of the leading gene editing companies (even if a direct competitor to our Intellia Therapeutics)! He’s also served as the founding CEO of other biotech startups, like Visterra and Morphic Therapeutic, and has been the founding investor in a number of others. Like the rest of us here at Atlas, Kevin enjoys rolling up his sleeves and helping build new biotech startups – confirming and consolidating early stage science, recruiting great teams of entrepreneurs and executives, helping to construct strong syndicates, and encoding the startups with the right long term vision and strategic “DNA” for success.

He’s built an incredibly strong reputation in the biotech community as a go-to venture investor and company-building partner in the true sense. Without exception, every entrepreneur, board member, and co-investor that we talked to about Kevin was effusive about his intellect and insight, broad-ranging contributions, and positive influence in the boardroom.

Kevin was attracted to Atlas’ evolution into a biotech-only firm, focused on seed-led venture creation in a flat and equal partnership. That said, it’s worth mentioning that he learned the art of venture capital at one of the top firms in the business, Polaris Partners, where he worked closely with industry leaders like Terry McGuire, one of Kevin’s most important mentors. We’ve worked closely with the Polaris team over the years and we’re hopeful that Kevin joining us will further strengthen the connection between our firms.

Lastly, Kevin’s also a fierce competitor who can’t stop moving. Whether its race car driving, skiing fast and furious, or running distances on roads and trails, Kevin has a strong bias to action. Many in the “Atlas family” have had the pleasure of running with him – as he’s been a core member of the Atlas’ Reach The Beach relay team (“Runners, Drugs, and Money”), trekking 200-miles through the woods of NH multiple times over the past few years. Although he has a soft-spoken and sophisticated appearance, his running playlist screams otherwise (think Metallica’s The Four Horsemen), tunes that definitely crank up the heart beat and the pace, not that Kevin actually needs to move more, or faster.

On a more personal note, we joined the venture business at the same time back in 2004-2005, and although we’ve never done a deal together, we’ve become good friends over the past dozen years. He was one of my first connections in the Boston ecosystem, and a frequent sounding board around both firm and startup topics over time. In addition to being a stellar venture investor, he’s an exceptionally good human being with his head screwed on straight – just the sort of person we’d all like to spend the next couple decades working with side by side.

On behalf of the Atlas team and partnership, we’re thrilled to welcome him onboard – and are looking forward to many years of building great biotech startups together!


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