26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Janis Naeve, Amgen Ventures
Janis Naeve, managing director of Amgen Ventures, biopharmaceutical company Amgen’s corporate venturing arm, has headed the unit since 2005, a year after it was formed under the leadership of Jay Hagan, former managing director of the unit until 2008, with $100m.
The unit’s parent company Amgen said it had always appreciated the importance of funding early-stage innovation as it was founded in 1980 by venture capitalists and scientists.
Naeve stated on the website: “At Amgen Ventures, we unlock value by making investments that match promising early innovations with more than 30 years of biotechnology experience.”
Her own experience does not reach back quite so far, however. Following her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology in California, she worked on business development at biotech company Aurora Biosciences and small molecule therapeutics developer X-Ceptor Therapeutics from 1997 to 2004 before joining Amgen in March 2005.
For more than a decade, Amgen Ventures has invested in more than 30 emerging biotechnology companies to advance promising medicines and technologies.
For the Global Corporate Venturing annual review last year, Naeve said its focus was on next-generation technologies to improve immuno-oncology and cell-based therapies. Its deals so far this year have included a $40m series B round for biotechnology company Imago BioSciences in March and a $27m series B round for medical analytics technology developer Aetion in February.
Last year, it was especially active in November, having participated in a $23m series A round for biotech company Rheostat Therapeutics, a $6.6m seed round for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatment developer QurAlis, a $65m series B round for immunotherapy developer Kymera Therapeutics and a $30m series A round for RNA (ribonucleic acid) drug developer Ribometrix.
In the summer, it had taken part in a $85.4m series E round for cancer drug developer Sutro Biopharma, a $133m series E round for neurodegenerative diseases-focused biotechnology developer Alector, a $110m series B round for gene editing technology developer Precision BioSciences and a $55m series C round for digital medication developer Akili Interactive Labs.
This continued the activity levels of 2017 when Amgen backed Obsidian Therapeutics, which raised $49.5m with Nunez joining the board as an observer, Syapse’s $30m D round, Fortuna Fix’s $25m B round, Immatics’ $58m E round and Kymera’s $30m A round.
Probably its biggest deal was Wuxi NextCode, which achieved a final close of its Amgen Ventures-backed series B round at $240m with additional commitments from investors including Temasek.
In February this year, its portfolio company Alector, an immuno-neurology therapy developer, raised $176m and floated on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in February. Other exits last year were Israel-based cellular medicine developer Gamida Cell which raised $69m in an initial public offering (IPO) in October and Sutro Biopharma which raised $85m in its IPO in September – both were listed on Nasdaq.
Naeve holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology from California Polytechnic State University Pomona and a PhD in pathology from University of Southern California. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at the California Institute of Technology.