When Eric Kaufman views biotech companies, he sees them at a different angle than many do. Of course, he’s fascinated by the cutting-edge science and its potential to deliver cures for unmet medical needs. But he also understands the importance of operating biotechs as successful businesses.
“Scientists and physicians dedicate their lives to the latest cutting-edge research because they care about patients,” he says. “But in order to make the machine turn, to serve those patients, the business side has to run as well.”
As a child, Kaufman thought he wanted to be a physician, inspired by his father, who’s a practicing urologist and a researcher. Ironically, an internship at Amgen during his sophomore summer at Emory University shifted his thinking and his career direction.
As an intern on Amgen’s clinical trial operations team, Kaufman had the opportunity to experience working at a large biopharmaceutical firm and to hear from several of the company’s leaders about the progression of their careers. One of those leaders was Sean Harper, Founding Managing Director at Westlake Village Biopartners. Another was Amgen CEO Bob Bradway, who came to the pharmaceutical industry from a banking background.
Intrigued by the convergence of finance and science, Kaufman decided to pursue a career in investment banking after graduation – specifically healthcare investment banking. He spent several years in roles at SVB Leerink and Cantor Fitzgerald after graduating, where he worked on multiple M&A transactions and approximately $20 billion in financings – including initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, PIPE and convertible note offerings – across hundreds of companies. His success in banking is what brought him to his “dream job” at Westlake Village Biopartners.
As an senior associate at Westlake, Kaufman will assist in managing relationships with investors and portfolio companies, working hands-on with biotech management teams and providing them guidance to finance and position their companies and products for success.
“Life leads you a particular way for a reason,” says Kaufman. “I’m excited to follow our portfolio companies throughout their lifecycle, and to help them evolve. I’m consistently impressed by the incredible progress science has made to date, but there’s always some way to develop things better, simpler, and with more precision. As much as we know today, scientific progress always finds a way to impress us.”
Kaufman has a BBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. He recently relocated to Los Angeles from New York City.