Plenary: VCs Talk Back – The State of Early-Stage Science-based Venture Capital
Tuesday, March 10
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Senior leadership from prominent VC firms will join moderator Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures, to discuss the complex intersection of venture capital and university tech transfer. This interactive, audience-driven session will cover current investment hypotheses and emerging best practices for forging deeper ties between VCs and universities, including:
- The state of life science venture capital, and how changes in the public markets might affect investments
- Observed “best practices” from TTOs pitching their opportunities
- Common challenges encountered by university science-based startups post-launch
- How early is too early? What kind of data do they need before they are willing to invest
- Common points of friction in license negotiations, and ways to work through them
- Making the transition from tech transfer to venture investing as a career
- Beyond licensing the IP, how else can universities help their startups succeed
- The dynamic between scientific founders and CEOs
- Kevin Bitterman, Atlas Venture
- Bill Harrington, Osage University Partners
- Deborah Palestrant, 4:59
- Josh Resnick, RA Capital
- Cami Samuels, Venrock
- Amy Schulman, Polaris Partners
is a partner with Atlas Venture, where he focuses on creating and investing in companies that translate groundbreaking science into innovative medicines. He serves on the boards of Akero Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKRO), Disc Medicine and Navitor Pharmaceuticals, as well as Remix Therapeutics and Vedere Bio where he is Board Chair. He was the founding CEO of Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Morphic Therapeutic (NASDAQ:MORF) and Visterra (acquired by Otsuka), and co-founder of Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ: GNCA). He received a biology degree, summa cum laude, from Rutgers University before completing his PhD in genetics at Harvard Medical School.
is a managing partner at Osage University Partners (OUP) and oversees the firm’s life science investment activity. Originally trained as an MD, Bill was a general partner at Three Arch Partners in Silicon Valley for fourteen years before joining OUP eight years ago.
joined 5AM Ventures in 2018 as Partner, Head of 4:59. Previously, she was Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Relay Therapeutics, where she executed business strategy including alliances, partnerships, and other collaborations and led communications. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, she was a lab head at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where she advanced multiple structure-based drug discovery programs. In 2010, Deborah joined Third Rock Ventures as a Senior Associate and helped to build and launch Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ: BPMC). Upon its launch, she served an interim role in operations at Blueprint Medicines. Subsequent to her return to Third Rock Ventures, Deborah helped to conceive and launch Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), and as part of the original founding team, she led the business development group until joining Relay Therapeutics.
is a managing director at RA Capital Management, where he leads early-stage private investments in and oversees the creation of new companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. Josh was previously co-lead of SV Health Investors’ US Biotech practice where he was responsible for SV’s US venture creation activities, including its incubator, Brahma Discovery. Prior, Josh was president and managing partner at MRL Ventures Fund, the early-stage therapeutics-focused corporate venture fund within Merck & Co. Josh was also a venture partner with Atlas Venture and a partner at Prism Venture Partners, focusing on company formation, and seed and Series A investing.
is a partner at Venrock, where she focuses on biotech, devices, and consumer health. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs found companies, building out management teams/boards, and determining optimal applications for new technologies. Her Venrock investments have included Biolux, Corvidia, Iris, RegenXBIO (RGNX), Spirox (now part of Stryker), and Unity (UBX). Prior to Venrock, she was a managing director at Versant, where she helped many companies, including Genomic Health, Jazz, Kythera, and Novacardia.
is a managing partner of Polaris and the LS Polaris Innovation Fund and currently serves as executive chair of SQZ Biotech, as well as Lyndra Therapeutics, where she was co-founder and the company’s initial CEO. She also represents Polaris as a director of Cyclerion (NASDAQ: CYCN), DewPoint Therapeutics, Kallyope, Quentis, and Volastra. In 2014, Amy joined Polaris and assumed the role of CEO of Arsia Therapeutics, a Polaris-backed company later acquired by Eagle Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Polaris, Schulman was the general counsel of Pfizer, president of Pfizer Nutrition, and was instrumental in its sale to Nestle in 2012. She is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and serves on the Board of Directors of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY).
Orin Herskowitz is the Senior VP of Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer for Columbia University, as well as Executive Director of Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV). He is an adjunct professor at Columbia teaching IP for Entrepreneurs and has been peer reviewer for NSF and APLU grants. He serves on the boards of the Center for American Entrepreneurship; the IBM Columbia Blockchain Center; the NYC Media Lab; the NYC AR VR Lab; and other organizations. He is a principal investigator for multiple innovation and entrepreneurship grants, such as PowerBridgeNY and CyberNYC and a former member of the National Advisory Committee on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the Secretary of Commerce.