PIF has made seven investments since our October newsletter. ROME and Mediar are seed investments in stealth mode focused on oncology and fibrosis, respectively, Lyndra and Keros are series B investments moving to generate clinical data, Abcuro and Nocion are series A investments and Tilos was a bridge round into a series A.
Highlighted in this current newsletter are Lyndra, Abcuro, and Sebacia. We look at all three from the viewpoint of the founder. For Lyndra, Andrew Bellinger is the CSO and an MD/PhD cardiologist from BWH. For Abcuro, we’ll hear Steve Greenberg’s perspective as a clinical immunologist and mathematician, that we’re coming up with drugs in all the wrong places (human data first, please), and who has antibodies in preclinical development for rare autoimmune diseases and immune-oncology. For Sebacia, we’ll learn how prolific inventor Rox Anderson trains his students to be problem-seeking missiles, and how the company plans to improve the lives of acne sufferers worldwide.
For those new to entrepreneurship, creating companies can be a little fraught as we look to test scientific hypotheses in the crucible of the venture capital world. There are often several stages, from the initial excitement of “we may have something here” to the highly chaotic (and Russian romance novel) company creation process, where so many opportunities wither on the vine as scientific founders, entrepreneurs and venture investors get to know each other, often with unintended consequences (usually having to do with cap table, ownership, and most importantly, control).
Finally, as the company clears the launch pad and the founder steps slightly back, how they each become their own entity again. It’s part parenting (from the founder who may be asked to let his charge go off with encouragement and nourishment), part scientific mystery novel (as the translational effort takes so many twists and turns), and part Wall Street tome (Liar’s Poker, anyone?). All ideally and eventually leading to treatments for patients. Ideally, this leads to a handoff to major pharma and device companies, with finances returning to the hospitals and investigators to catalyze investment in other scientific hypotheses, driving the ecosystem round and round and improving patient health. And then on it continues, especially (for now) in Boston.