The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Reinhard Ambros, Novartis Venture Funds
A dozen years ago, Reinhard Ambros became global head of Novartis Venture Funds for the Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company, when it had $175m under management. Today, it has more than $750m in committed capital and investments across North America, Europe, Israel and Asia-Pacific.
Its 36 public portfolio companies, according to its website, include UK-based anti-fungal drug developer F2G, which received $60m last year, and this month’s co-lead of Vivet Therapeutics, a France-based biotechnology company at work on gene therapies for rare inherited metabolic diseases, €37.5m ($41m) A round. It has a dozen executives, including GCV Rising Star Anja Koenig.
Ambros has been on the board of Aerpio Therapeutics, Aileron Therapeutics, Forma Therapeutics, Genedata and Symetis and is also a director of the Novartis Option Fund, an innovative $200m program to support early-stage healthcare companies.
He was trained as a banker and scientist with a PhD in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology in German and a post-doctorate in the US. He said: “I found a very interesting job at Roche in Basel [Switzerland] where I was involved in a number of their development projects. At that time project management was one of the hottest jobs around. I was one of the few lucky people to see programs move to approval and discussed with the US Food and Drug Administration multiple times.
“I then moved to Novartis to manage an oncology project, but got quickly interested in business development and licensing. From there I went to the M&A group for a period working on acquisitions, before I was offered the position of head of Novartis strategic planning [in 2001]. After four years I became tired of predicting the future of pharma and wanted to be again much more hands-on with science and business.”
He became managing director of the Novartis BioVenture Fund in the US.
“Overall the future of the sector is going to be stressful and evolution will take its toll on venture capital partnerships but some will do well and form a new group. I am certain we will be among them and it helps to be a leader in this field.”
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