The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Darren Carroll, Eli Lilly
Darren Carroll is now senior vice-president of corporate business development at Eli Lilly after promotion in 2015, but he retains control of the global corporate venturing program he founded in 2005.
Lilly Ventures and Asia-focused peer Lilly Asian Ventures developed out of Carroll’s earlier work on the open innovation market in physical sciences through spinning out InnoCentive from the company.
Carroll was promoted to vice-president of corporate business development in 2010, having originally joined Eli Lilly as an attorney in 1996.
In his latest role, Carroll is in charge of all strategic corporate venturing efforts including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, business collaborations, private equity investments and out-partnering. He reports to Derica Rice, the company’s executive vice-president of global services and chief financial officer.
At the time of his promotion, Carroll said: “The companies that are most effective at external innovation leverage a strong internal innovation capability. Our long-term commitment to scientific excellence at Lilly is the foundation for success in identifying, accessing and shaping external innovation. It has been recognised by partners that range from startups to other top-10 pharmaceutical companies, and it is a critical reason why we are attractive as a partner – we are all in on innovation.”
Lilly also has a capital funds strategy, which Carroll, in his LinkedIn profile, said had yielded two VC funds independently managed by HealthCare Ventures and TVM with more than 10 new companies working toward clinical proof of concept, plus the acquisition of Artaeus from Atlas Ventures.
US-based Lilly Ventures was set up first with $200m. It has 16 active portfolio companies on its website, and is led by a team run by Edward Torres, co-founder and managing director. Its recent hits include the flotation of Zymeworks, a cancer-focused antibody developer in which Lilly held a 17.5% stake, in a $58.5m initial public offering.
The Asian team, however, has grown quickest since its start in 2008 with $100m, as it now has 30 portfolio companies on its website, including US deals it has backed.
The Asian team is headed by managing partner and star investor Fei Chen, with his colleague Judith Li named a GCV Rising Star in 2016 and 2017. Last year’s Lilly Asian Ventures deals included four in the US:
• US-based Nextcure, which focuses on the development of next-generation immuno-oncology therapeutics using a proprietary platform developed at Prof Lieping Chen’s laboratory at Yale University.
• TMunity, which spun out from University of Pennsylvania last January to focus on the immunological potential of T-cells to treat a wide range of diseases.
• Fortis, a California-based early-stage biotech whose lead asset is an antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of prostate cancer and multiple myeloma and which raised $18m in September.
• Singlera Genomics, a US-based developer of genetic testing technology that raised a $20m series A round.
It is a platform built by Carroll to help its parent remain a “top-10 innovation-based pharmaceutical company”.
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