Launched by longtime life sciences investor Dr. Beth Seidenberg and to be co-led by R&D veteran Dr. Sean Harper
LOS ANGELES – September 5, 2018 – Westlake Village BioPartners, a new venture firm exclusively focused on investing in life sciences, announced the launch of the firm’s first fund with $320 million of committed capital. The founding team will include industry veterans and managing directors, Beth Seidenberg, M.D. – general partner at Kleiner Perkins and former chief medical officer and head of global development at Amgen – and Sean Harper, M.D., executive vice president and head of R&D at Amgen who will move to the firm in January 2019. Dr. Seidenberg and Dr. Harper will lead Westlake’s investing activities. Scott Ryles, chief operating officer at Kleiner Perkins, will be Westlake’s chief operating officer.
The Westlake approach is distinctive and based on Dr. Seidenberg’s successful track record in venture investing. The firm will invest in early-stage opportunities and incubating companies, matching the best entrepreneurial talent with promising, carefully-selected technologies from academia, companies, or de novo assets with breakthrough potential. Westlake will also make select investments in later-stage companies, creating a diversified portfolio.
“I am thrilled to launch a new fund dedicated to investing in life sciences and appreciate the support of our limited partners,” commented Dr. Seidenberg. “This was the ideal time – both in my role at Kleiner Perkins and given the explosive growth of breakthroughs in science and medicine – to pursue my passion for life sciences and launch a fund with such an exceptional team with whom I’ve worked closely in prior roles. Sean and I have known each other for more than 20 years and bring unique insights and expertise from our time in the drug discovery and development industry, providing the perfect shared history upon which to build Westlake. We look forward to sharing more information about the fund and our investment priorities in the coming months.”
About the Westlake Village BioPartners Founding Team
Together, the Westlake founders have years of experience leading large organizations and collaborating with teams to advance assets rapidly and efficiently. The founders’ networks span pharmaceutical, biotech and financial industries, providing insights regarding business development and M&A. Westlake is the first large venture fund of its kind based in the greater Los Angeles area, an emerging cluster of medical innovation and excellence in academic research with a deep talent pool.
Dr. Seidenberg has incubated-invested 13 biotech ventures since January 2006, including ARMO, Arresto, Atara, Cell Design Labs, iPierian, Epizyme, Flexus, TESARO and True North. She has significant senior level industry experience – with leadership roles at Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck Research Laboratories – and a demonstrated ability to identify and accelerate medically meaningful molecules through development. Dr. Seidenberg graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine and thereafter completed her medical residency at Johns Hopkins and the George Washington University and Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Harper brings more than 20 years of drug development experience at top pharmaceutical and large cap biotech companies, as well as M&A experience, and experience with Amgen’s venture fund. Under his leadership tenure at Amgen and Merck, 14 new products were successfully developed, including Prolia, Repatha, Blincyto and Aimovig. In addition, he created an industry-leading position for Amgen in human population genetics target discovery and validation capability. Dr. Harper attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco, completed internal medicine and gastroenterology training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Scott Ryles brings extensive operational and financial expertise including CEO roles in asset management, investment banking and insurance. He has been the chief operating officer of Kleiner Perkins since 2014, and previously was the CEO of two Kleiner Perkins portfolio companies. Mr. Ryles has held numerous board seats at private and public companies, including Gymboree and KKR Financial, and currently sits on the boards of ClearStory Data and Cloud Physics.
About Westlake Village BioPartners
Westlake Village BioPartners is a Los Angeles area-based venture capital firm focused on incubating and building life sciences companies with entrepreneurs that have the potential to bring transformative therapies and technologies to patients. The Westlake model is built on the founding team’s unique experience in successfully identifying and developing breakthrough therapies and building organizations. For more information, please visit https://westlakebio.com.
Julie Normart, W2O Group