26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Jens Eckstein, SR One
Few corporate venture capital groups cross the threshold of investing more than $1bn, but UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline’s independent corporate venturing unit, SR One, is one of them.
Jens Eckstein took over as president of SR One in 2011. Celebrating its 30th year of existence in 2015, SR One had invested $1bn in more than 170 companies as of then and had a portfolio of 40 private and public companies.
Last year, the firm’s investment pace did not seem to slow down either, with at least eight new investments. Those included a $80m series D round for US-based precision oncology drug developer TP Therapeutics and a $54m series A round for US-based biotechnology startup Gotham Therapeutics in October, as well as a $55m series C round for US-based hearing loss prevention therapies developer Decibel Therapeutics and a $65m series C round for US-based biotechnology company Nimbus Therapeutics in June.
Earlier deals included a $20m series D for US-based digital therapeutics company Propeller Health, a $100m series F round for US-based biopharmaceutical company Constellation Pharmaceuticals and a $20m series B round for US-based antibiotics developer Macrolide Pharmaceuticals in April, as well as a $58m series A round for US-based biotechnology company Pandion Therapeutics in January.
Many of its portfolio companies resulted in exits – US-based biopharmaceutical company Translate Bio, Constellation Pharmaceuticals and US-based cancer and autoimmune treatment developer Principia Biopharma, all of which floated on the Nasdaq Global Select Market respectively in June, July and September.
Meanwhile, Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company Ablynx was acquired by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi for €3.9bn ($4.4bn) in January, Propeller Health was acquired by connected medical devices provider ResMed in December for $225m.
Jill Carroll at SR One and GCV Rising Stars 2018 winner said: “A lot of the deals we have been doing lately have been in a company-building format, which means that we invest a lot of time, effort and money in developing the group.
“We screen around 500 new deals a year that we constantly monitor, so one of the most difficult steps for us is to decide where to place our bets. The fact that we are an early-stage investor adds a layer of difficulty, as there’s always a tremendous amount of technical risk to manage around early-stage companies.”
SR One operates independently of GlaxoSmithKline and is not a strategic investor, with the pharma group doing some strategic venture investing on its own, as both fund commitments and direct equity investments.
Eckstein joined SR One after working at venture firm TVM Capital as a general partner since 2007. He joined TVM as a principal in 2004. At TVM he became chief executive of SelectX Pharmaceuticals and was also an entrepreneur-in-residence at the company.
Eckstein, a Kauffman Fellow, earned a PhD in biological chemistry from University of Konstanz and Harvard University and became a post-doctoral fellow at University of California San Francisco. Between 1993 and 1999 he worked at healthcare startup Mitotix, which was acquired in 2000 by German biotech company GPC. He was then at Enanta Pharmaceuticals as director of lead discovery and research from 1999 to 2003, before founding Akikoa Pharmaceuticals, where he worked from 2003 to 2005.