From landing a fateful graduate-school internship to working on some of the industry’s most promising therapies, Dr. David Allison’s career so far has been rich with opportunities. Now, as a managing director at Westlake Village BioPartners, Allison finds fulfillment in giving back by investing in the companies and people he believes in.

“In our role as biotech venture capitalists, we have the privileged position of partnering with teams that have often spent decades working on a project and helping them turn their scientific discovery into a medicine,” he says. “That’s what I see as my role – to partner with brilliant scientists and physicians, navigating a program from the halls of academia into something that can help patients. It’s the ultimate win-win.”

In his role as managing director, Allison makes and manages investments across all therapeutic areas while also helping manage the firm. He, along with other Westlake leaders, determines how to strategically deploy capital across the portfolio to best benefit companies and patients.

Allison has a background in bioengineering, but unlike many of his graduate-school peers who pursued medicine or research, a brief internship led him down the venture capital path. While pursuing his PhD, he spent six months at a venture capital firm, learning how to analyze business plans and work with academics to find the next promising breakthrough. Ultimately, this led him to pursue a career out of the lab and in the biotech venture capital space.

Over the years, Allison has played leadership roles in several IPOs and acquisitions. Before joining Westlake, he spent over 6 years as a Partner at 5AM Ventures where he was involved in the firm’s investment in CinCor Pharma, helping develop a promising treatment for treatment-resistant hypertension. CinCor was acquired by AstraZeneca for $1.8 billion in 2022. Other investments he was involved with at 5AM include Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, Impel Neuropharma, Inipharm, Neurogastrx, and Radionetics. Before 5AM, Allison was a Principal at Versant Ventures and had previous roles at Split Rock Partners and PTV Healthcare Capital.

It isn’t just the science Allison focuses on – it’s also the people. Allison is passionate about building the best scientific leadership teams and investing in their long-term success.

“Recruiting and enabling the best talent is very important to me,” he says. “A lot of Westlake’s portfolio companies are led by first-time CEOs or new entrepreneurs, and it is humbling to take part in building the next generation of biotech leaders.”

Allison received a PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University with a focus on the extracellular matrix in cardiovascular disease. He and his husband, a professor at University of California-Berkeley, enjoy cycling, visiting the California wine country, and taking care of their dog Penelope.

David Alison

Managing Director