The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order by company): Tiba Aynechi, Novo Ventures
A scientist at heart who completed a bachelor of science and a PhD in biophysics, Tiba Aynechi has been applying her comprehensive life sciences knowledge to pinpointing good opportunities in the sector for Novo Ventures for the past eight years.
Currently serving as a partner at the firm, Aynechi started off as an associate in 2010 and was subsequently promoted to principal.
She is currently a board member for portfolio companies AnaptysBio, Arcellx, Nkarta and Battersea. She also looks after Cianna Medical, which topped up its $12m round in mid-2015 with $8m of equity and debt from Novo and others, and Spruce Biosciences, which received $20m in funding in 2016.
Aynechi also participated in molecular technology company HTG Molecular Diagnostics’ $16.2m series-D in 2011 and $7.5m series-E rounds in 2014, ahead of the group’s successful $50m IPO the following year. She also stepped off the board of iRhythm Technologies, which had its initial public offering in October 2016, in April last year. The sale prices were reported by Nasdaq to be between $32.74 and $42.92, with an estimated average price of $36.34, which was effectively more than double its IPO price of $17 per share.
Also since April last year, Aynechi has also been on the board of Genoa Pharmaceuticals, a US-based developer of treatments for pulmonary diseases, which closed a $62m series-A round that included Novo.
Since launching in 1999, Novo Ventures has invested more than $800m in at least 80 companies, and has completed over 30 exits.
In 2017, the unit led a $55m series-C round for cardiovascular therapy developer Milestone, and co-invested in a number of other rounds, including an $81.9m series B for anti-infective treatment developer Entasis, a $61m series A for urologic and gastrointestinal disorder drug developer Outpost alongside Takeda, and a $49m series A for rare infant diseases medicine developer Inozyme with Sanofi.
In October, it also contributed to the $270m round for biopharmaceutical company Harmony Biosciences, alongside Nan Fung Life Sciences and other backers.
Another significant development in 2017 for Novo was its partial exit from AnaptysBio, which reaped $75m through its initial public offering . Founded in 2005, the company develops antibody-based drugs to treat severe inflammatory disorders. In January, it company floated after pricing five million shares at $15 each, with existing investors agreeing to buy a further 1.95 million shares at the same price.
The offering came after AnaptysBio received a total $90m in venture funding, including a $34m B round led by Novo in 2007. The investor then re-committed $5m in mid-2015 as part of a $40.8m round backed by BioMed Ventures, Frazier Healthcare, HBM Healthcare Investments and others.
Following the IPO, Novo’s stake in AnaptysBio was diluted from 21.1% to 15.7%.
Ayenechi has more than 10 years of combined research and banking experience in life sciences, spanning various therapeutic areas and technology platforms.
Before moving into finance, she picked up her two degrees from University of California and held research jobs at the Irvine and San Francisco campuses.
In 2006, she joined the venture firm Burrill & Company, where she focused on regional and cross-border M&A, licensing and financing transactions for biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Within five months, she was promoted to director – a position she kept until joining Novo in 2010.
Ayenechi is also a published author of scientific articles and book chapters in the area of rational drug design.