Human Proof Of Concept



The Biotech Venture Capital Podcast


  • Don Nicholson of Nimbus: Making it Rain

    Don Nicholson of Nimbus: Making it Rain

    01/10/2017 Duración: 38min

    Nimbus Therapeutics is in the business of building structures. Molecular yes, but corporate too — they're unique and fit-for-purpose. CEO Don Nicholson explains it all: the partnerships, the code names, the high energy water, the bowling, the rapping. And how, at any given time, fully half of Amazon’s cloud computing power may be in use to create your next medicine.

  • Giving it his best Schadt

    Giving it his best Schadt

    31/08/2017 Duración: 31min

    Eric Schadt may enjoy the simple things in life — high velocity, a good polo shirt — but he is the first to admit that life is not simple. Living things are such complex systems, in fact, that our best chance to promote wellness is to understand them as vast information networks. To do so, Eric is unleashing maximum scale and bringing the firepower of math to bear. He endeavors to monitor and modify humans-slash-networks, both as CEO of the new genomics startup Sema4, and as Dean for Precision Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience, on location - outdoors no less - at the Foundation2017 conference. Make of it what you will: as soon as Eric discussed god, the birds start chirping.

  • Alix Lacoste: Druggable Jeopardy!

    Alix Lacoste: Druggable Jeopardy!

    31/07/2017 Duración: 32min

    Alix Lacoste crossed the ocean from France in search of new challenges, made her way to California, ran out of money and took up filmmaking in community college. Insert the windy road that led to Neurobiology degrees from Berkeley and Harvard. Today she is a subject matter expert at IBM’s internal venture: Watson. You may remember IBM Watson from such disruptions as winning Jeopardy against humans in 2011. Now it is disrupting Drug Discovery as part of its effort in (human) health. Alix discusses some examples of how it’s tackling that challenge, including partnering with pharma companies and institutes to find unique disease genes. You might say there’s a new paradigm in genetics: Watson and Click.

  • Patently Scott Kamholz

    Patently Scott Kamholz

    01/07/2017 Duración: 35min

    Strong patent protection has always been a cornerstone of the biotech industry — and table stakes in a VC deal. But inter partes review has significantly changed the game in the last 5 years. Enter Scott Kamholz. Scott is once, twice, three times a doctor: Medicinae, Philosophiae, and Juris. He went from partner at a law firm, to patent judge, became a foremost expert in inter partes review, and then back to private practice at Covington & Burling with 250 IPR cases under his belt. Whether you’re a baby biotech with a patent license as your only asset or large pharma with marketed products to worry about, he is a good person to know. Scott is a great legal mind, but he cannot give a straight answer to a yes or no question.

  • Joe Allen on the Bayh-otechnology Industry

    Joe Allen on the Bayh-otechnology Industry

    31/05/2017 Duración: 36min

    If you work in biotech, or venture capital, if you pay taxes, or take medicine… you really ought to know the name Joe Allen. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes in Washington to get the Bayh-Dole Act passed into law. Sponsored by Senators Birch Bayh and Bob Dole, and passed at the last possible opportunity in a lame duck session of Congress in 1980, it is the legislation that realigned the incentives of the patent system to enable small biotech companies and their investors to flourish. And Joe's been implementing, overseeing, protecting, sharing, and blogging about it ever since. 

  • Deborah Dunsire: Business XTuition

    Deborah Dunsire: Business XTuition

    30/04/2017 Duración: 35min

    Deborah Dunsire was a general practitioner in South Africa when a motorcycle drove her into industry. And that side trip, ultimately routing her to Boston, is still going on. She built the North American Oncology unit at Novartis, launched Gleevec, ran Millennium after the millennium, realized the value in Velcade, took a foray into Forum, and recently announced her latest role, President and CEO of XTuit Pharmaceuticals. 

  • The Art of Pappas

    The Art of Pappas

    31/03/2017 Duración: 35min

    Art Pappas had an extensive, international career in the pharma industry before going on to form his eponymous VC firm in the 90s. Pappas Ventures has been partnering with pharma ever since: licensing assets from them, selling portfolio companies to them, syndicating with them, and managing venture funds for them. But perhaps most notable is the list of pharma and strategic limited partners they brought together to invest in their newest fund — Pappas V — it's a record, even for them. 

  • Stacey Seltzer on VC: Timing Timing Timing

    Stacey Seltzer on VC: Timing Timing Timing

    28/02/2017 Duración: 31min

    If the mantra in real estate is location location location, for venture capital it might just be timing timing timing. Stacey Seltzer made the move from big pharma into venture capital during a financial crisis and has gone on to build a wildly diverse portfolio of healthcare companies at Aisling Capital. She takes us on a tour of some of the highlights, and reveals what venture capitalists do for fun.

  • Daily Digestif featuring Marc Pelletier

    Daily Digestif featuring Marc Pelletier

    11/01/2017 Duración: 17min

    Marc was a podcaster before it was cool. That is, 2006. While producing over 100 hours of interviews on his show “Futures in Biotech” he confirmed his own future was in biotech, starting one and then another. Bypassing his jazz guitar talents and multiple black belts, he launched Aeromics out of Yale to develop the world’s 1st clinical candidate targeting a water channel for the treatment of brain swelling in stroke. And then there’s Dodo Omnidata, Inc. which is developing a read/write hard drive that stores data in DNA.

  • Daily Digestif featuring Sara Demy

    Daily Digestif featuring Sara Demy

    10/01/2017 Duración: 14min

    If Biotech Showcase is the farm team for JPM, then Sara Demy is the coach. She literally got high fives as her new conference burst onto the scene, bust out of its first two locations, and now boasts 400 presenting companies and 1,000 investors. And there are new offspring offerings in the Demy-Colton family as well...

  • Daily Digestif featuring Martin Lehr

    Daily Digestif featuring Martin Lehr

    10/01/2017 Duración: 15min

    After a run-in with Joe Biden’s entourage, Marty Lehr joined me on the first full day of the 35th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. He discussed his prior life at Osage University Partners, his current life at Context Therapeutics, and how his romantic life once dictated his professional life.

  • Glen de Vries has his Head in the Cloud

    Glen de Vries has his Head in the Cloud

    08/12/2016 Duración: 32min

    In 1999 Glen de Vries started a tech company in his 5th floor walkup - very much the NYC equivalent of a garage in Silicon Valley. Today Medidata Solutions continues to transform human drug studies with their clinical cloud platform. They are approaching 3M patients and a $3B market cap. Glen explains how he plans to reach escape velocity with no exit strategy.   And how he keeps his feet on the dance floor and head in the cloud.

  • Barry Kappel and Gerard Honig – Live!

    Barry Kappel and Gerard Honig – Live!

    17/11/2016 Duración: 28min

    Barry Kappel of Sapience Therapeutics and Gerard Honig of Symbiotic Health joined me for a fireside chat at the Foundation2016 conference.   Held at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, it was a beautiful day in pre-election times. If you listen closely you can hear local wildlife in the background: birds chirping and (the) James Watson roaring around campus in his Porsche.  I asked them about their startup companies, and after they critiqued the VC industry, I gave them a pop quiz. 

  • Stéphane Bancel: The Messenger is the Medium

    Stéphane Bancel: The Messenger is the Medium

    31/10/2016 Duración: 34min

    Moderna is the Kendall Square startup developing a variety of drugs made of messenger RNA, leaving your cells to translate them into proteins. Forging a new ecosystem doesn’t come cheap: in only 5 years, Moderna has raised nearly $2B and is valued around $5B. Its financial position may be the envy of its biotech neighbors, but it is also polarizing. It has generated intrigue and invited scrutiny, including in a recent article that questioned both the science and culture under its CEO, Stéphane Bancel. Quite the juxtaposition since it was just announced that Moderna is - again - one of Science’s Top Employers, and has even moved up in the ranks. What is going on over there? In this episode, Stéphane is the messenger. He takes us inside the how and why of Moderna.  

  • Francois Nader: Be Small But Think Big

    Francois Nader: Be Small But Think Big

    30/09/2016 Duración: 33min

    Today, Francois Nader is merely President of the Jesra Foundation, trustee of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Acceleron Pharma (XLRN), Director of ArRETT Neuroscience, Clementia Pharma, and Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAAP), and Advisory Board member of the Open Future Institute. But you might remember him from such former roles as President, CEO and Executive Director of NPS Pharma (NPSP now Shire) prior to its $5.2B acquisition, Venture Partner at Care Capital, 2013 Ernst and Young National Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year, Chairman of BioNJ, and Board member of BIO, Noven (NOVN), Trevena (TRVN), and Baxalta (BXLT now also Shire). He joins me to describe the art of being small while thinking big, and to share some decidedly unconventional wisdom.

  • Bill Newell: Sutro has an Unfair Advantage

    Bill Newell: Sutro has an Unfair Advantage

    31/08/2016 Duración: 34min

    Bill Newell is a lawyer turned large molecule wrangler. He’s CEO of Sutro Biopharma, and their special sauce - literally - lets them manipulate and manufacture antibodies with the kind of control scientists have had over small molecules for decades. Where other biotechs find scientific challenges can threaten their survival, with Sutro it comes down to strategic challenges. And Bill has led them to enviable partnerships, capital, and optionality. Sutro has an unfair advantage: Bill Newell.

  • Brian Bloom: Hockey Sticks and Cheerleaders Do Not Go Together

    Brian Bloom: Hockey Sticks and Cheerleaders Do Not Go Together

    31/07/2016 Duración: 33min

    Home or away, Brian Bloom is recognized for his wildly successful conference and boutique investment bank. With a mission to uncover and cultivate Canadian life sciences companies through scientific focus and range of services, Bloom Burton & Co., which he co-founded in 2008, has risen swiftly to be profitable and globally unique. And its Bloom Burton Healthcare Investor Conference achieved actual hockey stick growth since it broke onto the Canadian biotech scene 5 years ago. But hockey and cheerleaders do not go together. Brian’s knowledge of the Canadian biotech scene, and his seat on umpteen boards, leads him to a frank, no-apologies stance on the industry.  

  • Kate Bingham, a Voice of Reason from the UK

    Kate Bingham, a Voice of Reason from the UK

    30/06/2016 Duración: 34min

    Brexit isn't the only newsworthy and dismal problem out there. Consider a couple of others - some VCs would rather not touch them with a ten foot pole, yet Kate Bingham is taking a stab at them: There's Alzheimers. This past October, SV Life Sciences where she is Managing Partner, became the fund manager of the Dementia Discovery Fund. Launched with a charity and six pharmas at the table, and $100M in the bank, the fund brings a fresh operating model to the tired approach. And then there's gender diversity. Following the JP Morgan biotech investors conference this year, Kate co-authored an open letter to the industry, alongside Karen Bernstein of Biocentury. It queried why “the smart, dynamic women in our industry are forced to choose between demeaning themselves and making business connections.” Kate has the knack for looking at improbable problems and seeing a path to success. Perhaps because she herself is an improbability in the industry - having found her way into it 25 years ago, on account of a luck

  • Sven Jacobson Doesn’t Have a Swelled Head

    Sven Jacobson Doesn’t Have a Swelled Head

    23/05/2016 Duración: 33min

    Have you heard the one about the guy who founded a biotech startup in the middle of Manhattan? Around a repurposed, hydrolysable, insoluble small molecule? To treat massive strokes, traumatic brain injury, and other neuro indications? Using a highly translatable rodent model? During the financial crisis? Unpartnered? And who spent $1M per year to generate randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind PhII results that show a 50% reduction in mortality from strokes that were too big for other trials and too late for other treatments? That’s Sven Jacobson. He is CEO of Remedy Pharmaceuticals, and was Partner at Carrot Capital Healthcare Ventures, the nontraditional VC that founded and funded Remedy. For a long time, Remedy was one guy and one drug. But that drug, Cirara™, combats swelling in the central nervous system - a root cause of morbidity and mortality in multiple diseases. Today Cirara™ is still investigational, but in line to be the first therapeutic advance in the stroke field in over 20 years. And a

  • Colin Cahill’s Venrock Diagram

    Colin Cahill’s Venrock Diagram


    Colin Cahill swears he didn’t grow up wanting to be a life science venture capitalist. But you would think he had planned it from his very first job cleaning glassware. His path from there to Venrock may appear linear after the fact, but at the time it was based on serendipity plus a hunch he should stay close to both science and business for as long as possible. In this episode, Colin deconstructs some of the great VC mysteries: How do they decide which deals to do, since “there’s no rules-based decision paradigm for venture investing”? Why, when other VCs have run screaming from med devices, has Venrock retained its breadth? And what does “falling in love” mean when a venture capitalist says it?

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