The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Jens Eckstein, SR One
There are few venture groups that cross the threshold of investing more than $1bn, but GlaxoSmithKline’s independent corporate venturing unit, SR One, is, well, one.
Jens Eckstein took over as president of SR One in 2012. Celebrating its 30th year of existence in 2015, SR One had invested $1bn in more than 170 companies as of then, and had a portfolio of 40 private and public companies.
Last year, the firm’s investment pace did not seem to slow down either, with at least eight new investments as of November. Those included a $47.6m A round for Palleon Pharmaceuticals alongside Vertex Ventures, Takeda, Pfizer and AbbVie Biotech Ventures; a $38.6m C round for Effector Therapeutics in July; a $52m B round for Bicylce Therapeutics in June; and two more rounds in May.
Jill Carroll at SR One and GCV Rising Stars 2018 winner said: “A lot of the deals we have been doing lately have been in a company-building format, which means that we invest a lot of time, effort and money in developing the group.
“We screen around 500 new deals a year that we constantly monitor, so one of the most difficult steps for us is to decide where to place our bets. The fact that we are an early-stage investor adds a layer of difficulty, as there’s always a tremendous amount of technical risk to manage around early-stage companies.”
SR One operates independently of GlaxoSmithKline and is not a strategic investor, with the pharma group doing some strategic venture investing on its own, as both fund commitments and direct equity investments.
Eckstein joined SR One after working at venture firm TVM Capital as a general partner since 2007. He joined TVM as a principal in 2004. At TVM he became chief executive of SelectX Pharmaceuticals, and was also an entrepreneur-in-residence at the company.
He gained a PhD in biological chemistry from University of Konstanz and Harvard University, and became a post-doctoral fellow at University of California San Francisco. Between 1993 and 1999 he worked at healthcare startup Mitotix, which was acquired in 2000 by German biotech company GPC. He was then at Enanta Pharmaceuticals as director of lead discovery and research from 1999 to 2003, before founding Akikoa Pharmaceuticals, where he worked from 2003 to 2005.
He is an adviser to the Alzheimer Research Forum, a founding member of the Cure Dystonia Initiative Advisory Council and a Kauffman fellow.