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November 13, 2012

Lucky 13 Serial Entrepreneurs

Meet the most enterprising people in biotech.

Lucky 13 Serial Entrepreneurs

These industry players have had no shortage of ideas when it comes to biotech businesses. [© escova - Fotolia.com]

  • Robert S. Langer, Sc.D.

    • Blend Therapeutics—Co-founder; member, Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 2012 to design and integrate drugs targeting distinct disease pathways.
    • Moderna Therapeutics—Co-founder. Launched 2010 to develop drugs using technology platform enabling cells to express proteins without changing their genome or creating long term safety concerns.
    • Kala Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder and member, Board of Directors. Launched 2009 to develop drugs capable of penetrating mucosal barriers for treatment of major diseases affecting the eyes, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and female reproductive system.
    • Living Proof—Co-founder; Chief Scientific Advisor; Member, Board of Directors. Launched 2008 as Andora to market hair care and other beauty products for women. On Oct. 11, announced actress Jennifer Aniston as the company’s co-owner and hair care spokesperson.
    • Selecta Biosciences—Co-founder; Scientific Advisor. Launched 2008 to commercialize nanoparticle technology for therapeutic and prophylactic immune modulation.
    • Seventh Sense Biosystems—Co-founder. Launched 2008 to develop painless, simplified and safe blood collection technology platforms.
    • TARIS Biomedical—Co-founder. Launched 2008 to develop treatments for bladder diseases.
    • BIND Biosciences—Co-founder, Director, and Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 2007 to apply nanotechnology toward treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
    • T2 Biosystems—Co-founder. Launched 2006 to develop next-generation medical diagnostic products by combining nanotechnology and miniaturized magnetic resonance technology to provide rapid, accurate and portable diagnostics.
    • Arsenal Vascular—Co-founder; Member, Board of Directors. Launched 2005 as Arsenal Medical to develop its AxioCore nanofiber drug delivery platform as well as therapeutic foams. Renamed 2011.
    • InVivo Therapeutics—Co-founder; Member, Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 2005 to develop technologies for treating spinal cord injuries and neurotrauma.
    • Pervasis Therapeutics—Co-founder. Launched 2004 to develop therapies for common vascular interventions. In April 2012, Shire disclosed plans to acquire the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • Pulmatrix—Co-founder. Launched 2003 to develop an inhaled dry powder platform and advance a new inhaled therapeutics platform, iSPERSE (inhaled small particles easily respirable and dispersible).
    • Momenta Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder. Launched in 2001 to develop complex generics, follow-on biologics and new drugs.
    • MicroCHIPS—Co-founder; Member, Board of Directors. Launched 1999 to apply microreservoir technology first developed at MIT to a tech platform that incorporates long-term implant technologies and wireless communications.
    • TransForm Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder. Launched 1999 to develop superior formulations and novel crystalline forms of drug molecules. Acquired 2005 for about $230 million by Johnson & Johnson.
    • Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR)—Co-founder. Launched 1997 to develop drugs based on pulmonary drug delivery technologies jointly created at MIT and Penn State University. Acquired 1999 for more than $100 million by Alkermes.
    • Sontra Medical—Co-founder; Scientific Consultant. Launched 1996 to develop technology in ultrasound and skin permeation methods used in transdermal science for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Merged 2007 with Echo Therapeutics.
    • Acusphere—Co-founder. Launched 1993 to develop an injectible suspension cardiovascular drug for detection of coronary artery disease.

    At present: David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, one of 14 to receive the institute’s highest faculty honor.

    Degrees: Cornell University, B.S. in chemical engineering, 1970; MIT, Sc.D. in chemical engineering, 1974.

  • James W. Larrick, M.D., Ph.D.

    • Panorama Research—Founder and Managing Scientific Director; Launched 1991 as biopharmaceutical incubator.
    • Panorama Institute of Molecular Medicine—Founder and President. Established 1991 as nonprofit research institute; formerly named Palo Alto Institute of Molecular Medicine.
    • TransTarget—Co-founder. Launched to develop bispecific antibodies to direct stem cells to damaged heart tissue.
    • Humanyx—Co-founder. Launched to create human therapeutic antibody candidates against disease targets.
    • StormBio—Co-founder; Chief Scientific Officer. Launched 2006 to develop drugs for highly pathogenic influenza.
    • Verdezyne—Co-founder; Member of Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 2005 as CODA Genomics to use computational technology to design genes. Repositioned 2008 into a biofuel and biochemical concern.
    • Galaxy Biotech—Co-founder. Launched 2002 to develop humanized antibodies against growth factors and their receptors for the treatment of cancer.
    • Neuromolecular Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder. Launched 2002 to develop and commercialize neuroprotective medicines for CNS disorders.
    • Absalus—Co-founder. Launched 2001 to develop antibody therapeutics. Acquired 2005 for $8 million by EvoGenix, which is acquired in 2007 for A$156 million ($129 million) by Peptech.
    • KaloBios Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder; Consultant and Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 2001 to develop monoclonal antibody therapeutics.
    • Adamas Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder. Launched 2000 to develop aminoadamantane-based therapeutics for central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
    • NuGen Technologies—Co-founder. Launched 2000 to develop products for RNA amplification and detection for genomic and proteomic research.
    • InterMune—Co-founder. Launched 1998 to research, develop, and commercialize therapies in pulmonology and orphan fibrotic diseases.
    • Planet Biotechnology—Co-founder. Launched 1998 to discover, develop, and commercialize new monoclonal-antibody-based therapeutic and preventive products to meet underserved medical needs.
    • Target Quest—Co-founder. Launched 1997 to apply phage display technology for antibody engineering and discovery of novel cancer therapeutics. Company acquired 1999 by Dyax.
    • PanGenetics—Co-founder, Member, Scientific Advisory Board. Launched 1995 to develop clinical applications of monoclonal antibodies for treatment of immune mediated diseases and cancer. Acquired 1998 by Tanox.
    • Cetus Immune Research Labs—Founding scientist, 1982; Director of Research, 1986. Launched 1982, pioneered the use of PCR for construction of recombinant antibodies. Acquired by Chiron, acquired 2006 by Novartis.

    At present: Venture partner, CMEA Capital, 2010–present; Managing director and Chief Medical Officer, Velocity Pharmaceutical Development.

    Degrees: Colorado College, B.S. in Chemistry; Duke University School of Medicine, M.D. and Ph.D., from Medical Scientist Training Program, Molecular and Cell Biology.

  • William S. Marshall, Ph.D.

    miRagen—Co-founder; President and CEO; member of the Board of Directors. 

    Dharmacon—Scientific co-founder; Executive VP for Research and Operations and General Manager. Company founded 1995 to provide RNA oligonucleotides, small interfering RNA (siRNA), and related RNAi products and technologies. Acquired in 2004 by Fisher Scientific International, now ThermoFisher.

    Degrees: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. in Biochemistry; University of Colorado at Boulder, Ph.D. in Chemistry.

  • Eric N. Olson, Ph.D.

    • Lone Star Heart—Co-founder; company launched 2010 to develop drugs and devices for heart regeneration and repair.
    • miRagen—Co-founder and Chief Scientific Advisor.
    • Myogen—Co-founder, scientific advisor of heart muscle disease drug developer.
    • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Department of Molecular Biology—Founder, 1995; Professor and Chairman; Holder of the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research, and the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects.

    Degrees: Wake Forest University, B.A. in Chemistry and Biology; Ph.D. in Biochemistry; honorary doctorate.

  • Linda Rhodes, V.M.D., Ph.D

    • Aratana Therapeutics—Founding CEO; currently Chief Scientific Officer and member, Board of Directors. Launched 2010 to develop medicines for cats and dogs.
    • AlcheraBio—Co-founder of consulting and contract research organization focused on the animal health industry. Acquired 2008 by Argenta.

    Degrees: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A.; University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, V.M.D.; Cornell University, Ph.D. in physiology.

  • David Warshawsky, Ph.D.

    • LifeMap Sciences—Co-founder; CEO. Launched 2011 to develop and commercialize a database of the thousands of cell lineages branching from embryonic stem cells.
    • Avraham Pharmaceuticals—Co-founder; Former CEO. Launched 2010 to develop drugs for treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.
    • XenneX—Founder; Chairman of the Board of Directors. Launched 2003 to provide GeneCards® bioinformatics database, developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

    Degrees: University of Illinois at Chicago, Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, 1995,

  • Alejandro Zaffaroni, Ph.D.

    • Alexza Pharmaceuticals—Founder. Launched 2000 to research, develop, and commercialize drugs for acute treatment of CNS conditions.
    • Maxygen—Founder; CEO. Launched 1997 to develop technologies that improve the function of a protein or polynucleotide through the evolution of its DNA sequence.
    • SurroMed—Co-founder; Member, Board of Directors, starting 2001. Launched 1997 to discover and apply biomarkers toward drug development. Biomarker assets sold 2005 to PPD.
    • Symyx—Founder; CEO. Launched 1994 to apply combinatorial chemistry toward discovery of materials that included superconductors, magnets, catalysts, and polymers.
    • Technogen Associates—Founder. Firm launched with investment focus on human genetics and life sciences startups.
    • Affymetrix—Founder; member, Board of Directors, ending 1997. Company launched 1991 to commercialize technologies to acquire, analyze, and manage genetic information rapidly and cost-effectively using its GeneChip platform.
    • Affymax—Co-founder. Company launched 1988 to apply combinatorial chemistry technologies in the discovery of chemical compounds for treating disease. Acquired 1995 by Glaxo-Wellcome, now GlaxoSmithKline.
    • DNAX—Founder. Company launched in 1980 to develop macromolecular products combining genetic engineering and immunobiology. Acquired 1982 by Schering-Plough, which operated DNAX as subsidiary until 2005, when company was integrated with another subsidiary into Schering-Plough, now Merck.
    • ALZA—Founder; chairman and CEO, 1968–1987; Co-chairman, 1987–1997. Launched in 1968 to develop drug delivery technologies. Acquired 2001 by Johnson & Johnson.
    • Zaffaroni Foundation—Founder. Established 1963 for research in education, nutrition, and genetics in the development of depression and addictive disorders.

    Degrees: University of Montevideo, B.Sc., 1941; Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Rochester, 1949.