AI AND PRECISION MEDICINE INVESTMENTS

From CRISPR to CAR-T Technologies: Shifting the Paradigm of Therapeutic Investment

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications in precision medicine is essential in bringing therapeutics from development to early detection and treatment for genetic disorders, rare diseases, oncology, and more. However, demand doesn’t equate success. Guidance from industry experts can help navigate pitfalls such as market saturation, regulatory risk and guidelines, as well as how to better define patient populations, and tackle manufacturing and commercialization challenges.

Moderator: Sara Nayeem, MD, Partner, New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
Sara Nayeem, MD is a Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a large diversified venture capital firm. Sara joined NEA’s healthcare team in 2009 and focuses on investments in biopharmaceutical companies. She serves on the boards of Centrexion, Complexa, Cydan, Imara (IMRA), Tiburio, and a stealth targeted oncology company. She previously served on the boards of Vtesse (acquired by Sucampo), Mersana (MRSN) and Therachon and as a board observer for Loxo Oncology (LOXO, acquired by Lilly), Tesaro (TSRO, acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), Clementia (CMTA, acquired by Ipsen), Nightstar (NITE, acquired by Biogen), Ziarco (acquired by Novartis), Omthera (OMTH, acquired by AstraZeneca), Epizyme (EPZM), Millendo (MLND) and Zyngenia. She has also been involved in other NEA investments such as Prosensa (RNA, acquired by BioMarin), Metacrine, and 3-V Biosciences. She also serves on the boards of the New England Venture Capital Association and BioHealth Innovation Management, and on the Advisory Council of Incubate Coalition. She was included on Fierce Biotech’s 2019 list of the Fiercest Women in Life Sciences and was selected three times as one of GrowthCap’s Top 40 Under 40 Growth Investors. Prior to joining NEA, Sara was an Associate with Merrill Lynch’s Global Healthcare Group, where she advised biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies on numerous mergers, acquisitions and financing transactions. Previously, she worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley. She has conducted basic science research in mammalian cardiac development and clinical research in age-related macular degeneration. Sara concurrently earned her MD (cum laude) and MBA from Yale University, where she was a Yale MBA Scholar. She received her AB (magna cum laude) in Biology from Harvard University.

Annette Bakker, PhD, President, The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF)
Annette Bakker, the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s President, holds a PhD in cell biology from the University of Antwerp. Her past experience includes serving as Oncology Group Leader at Janssen Pharmaceutica, and postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and La Salpetriere, Paris. Before joining the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Dr. Bakker served as head of the Oncology R&D department for a biotech company in Siena, Tuscany. While there, she designed and created a neuro-oncology department from the ground up, and managed large oncology research initiatives both nationally (Italian networks) and internationally (European and Asian networks). Dr. Bakker’s research has been internationally recognized by more than 30 peer-reviewed papers, patents, and awards, and she has extensive experience liaising and negotiating with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. In her role at the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Annette and her team will continue to build a strong NF community, design and execute innovative business models to accelerate the path from basic discovery to clinical benefit for NF patients, develop partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and attract new scientists and funders to the NF field. Annette is originally from Belgium, and speaks four languages (English, French, Dutch, and Italian). She lives happily in Westchester, NY with her family.

Ali Farahanchi, PhD, MBA, Managing Director, DHVC
Ali is Director at DHVC, an early-stage fund based in Palo Alto, where he leads the fund investment in digital health and therapeutics startups. Some of his past investments include PathAI, Engine Biosciences, Mammoth Biosciences, and Beam Therapeutics. Ali received PhD degree in Engineering from MIT, and MBA degree from Chicago Booth.

Ser-Chen Fu, MD, Partner, Pacific 8 Ventures
Dr. Ser-Chen Fu was previously trained as a clinical neurologist and served as an attending physician during his clinical practice. At Pacific 8 Ventures, he provides a clinical and medical perspective in assisting healthcare startups realize their visions. Experience: Tzu-Chi University Medical School; Neurology Resident, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital; Attending Physician, Taipei Tzu-Chi Hospital; Attending Physician, Hualien Tzu-Chi Hospital.

João Ribas, PhD, Associate, Novo Holdings A/S
João Ribas is an Associate at Novo Holdings (Seeds team), a life science investor with offices in Copenhagen, Boston, and San Francisco. João invests in and helps build disrupting life science companies in Europe, served from the Copenhagen office. João mentored healthcare startups and taught innovation methodologies around the world and co-founded a medical device company. He started his VC career at M Ventures, the corporate VC arm of Merck KGaA, before joining the Novo Seeds team. João did his PhD research in bioengineering in Boston, at Harvard Medical School & Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He currently hosts a podcast series (The Future Labs) where he interviews thought leaders on the technologies and ideas that will shape our future.