10-17-2022, Business Insider, by Yeji Jesse Lee, Andrew Dunn, and Sarah Braner. - The biotech industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, but a lot of the biggest names in biotech investing have stayed the same: Arch Venture Partners' Robert Nelsen, Flagship Pioneering's Noubar Afeyan, and Atlas Venture's Bruce Booth are all known for being pioneering investors who have shaped the industry over the past decade.
But new investors are joining the ranks of biotech venture capitalists every day, and they're bringing new ideas with them.
Insider set out to identify the rising stars writing biotech's next chapter and ended up with a wide-ranging group of 16 investors shaping the industry. To build a diverse list from an infamously nondiverse sector, we didn't set a maximum age or minimum company size. The result is a list of people ranging from 30 to 61 years old and working at VC firms that just opened to those who have been around for decades and manage billions in assets.
All the VCs on this list have less than a decade of experience in the venture-capital world, and they all approach investing with a different mentality from the classic biotech approach — which typically installs an experienced CEO to prioritize a lead drug program and pave a clear path to going public.
Instead, these investors are prone to taking chances on first-time founders who bring no business experience as CEOs but often have a deep knowledge of the underlying science. Many on the list bring a tech or finance background into the life-sciences industry and previously worked at places like Google and Morgan Stanley. And many of these rising stars said they believed biotech could do more than develop drugs and influence other industries, like food and energy.
To compile this list, Insider reached out to over 20 well-known investors, such as Andreessen Horowitz's Vijay Pande and EcoR1's Oleg Nodelman; academics such as Yale's Aaron Ring and MIT's Andrew Lo; and biotech entrepreneurs including Strand CEO Jake Becraft and Ochre CEO Jack O'Meara.
According to these people, the 16 names on this list represent some of the brightest minds in the VC world and are using their intellect to shake things up.
FoundersX Ventures is proud to see our Managing Partner Helen Liang, PhD is featured in this finalist. Here is why Helen made the list.
Title: Founder and managing partner at FoundersX Ventures
Years in VC: 6
Notable investments: Cognito Therapeutics, 1910 Genetics, Kernal Bio
Helen holds a doctorate in materials science and engineering and spent 12 years as a product manager in the technology industry before moving to venture capital.
She told Insider FoundersX was focused on founders who are pioneering in gene therapies, mRNA, neuroscience, pediatrics, women's health, and mental health.
Liang called FoundersX "tech-bio investors," in contrast to traditional investing, which she described as intellectual-property- and invention-focused.
FoundersX invests only in platform-based biotech companies, or companies focused on creating technology that could be applied to multiple problems, rather than companies whose main product is one drug for one disease. These companies have multiple product lines, and Liang stressed the importance of machine learning, data science, and quantum-bio algorithms.
See the complete Pioneering Biotech VCs list in alphabetical order by first name.
We firmly believe that in order to drive more breakthroughs in biotech to the market, many more tech bio investors are needed. Join the force to make our world healthier and happier!