Brad Robling, vice president at Lilly Ventures, is one of the 100 leading corporate venturing professionals in our 2024 Powerlist.

Brad Robling

Despite the slow biotech market for startups, US pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly’s corporate venture capital unit made big early-stage bets in the past year under Lilly Ventures vice president Brad Robling.

Those deals included antibody drug conjugate developer Firefl y Bio’s $94m round in February, three months after another series A, sized at $60m, for OrsoBio, which is working on therapies to treat metabolic disorders. Eli Lilly is having success on the exit end, too.

Among the firm’s recent exits was the $1.8bn acquisition of radiopharmaceuticals developer Mariana Oncology by pharmaceutical firm Novartis, just eight months after it took part in the startup’s series B round. Novartis had already bought another portfolio company, RNA therapeutics developer DTx Pharma, in a billion-dollar deal in July 2023.

“Robling and his team focus on long-term goals in terms of strategic investments”

Robling says he and his team focus on long-term goals in terms of strategic investments. Looking 10 to 15 years ahead, Lilly Ventures is targetting strategic areas such as oncology, cardiometabolic and immunology therapeutics developers.

Robling came to Lilly Ventures in mid-2020 after six years at its parent firm, in roles including director of investor relations.

Robling holds board positions at portfolio companies including cancer drug developers Auron Therapeutics and Cedilla Therapeutics, in addition to Sitryx Therapeutics, which focuses on regulating cell metabolism to develop disease-modifying medicines. He recently joined the board of AMR Action Fund, focusing on antimicrobial resistance.

Before joining Eli Lilly in 2012, Robling was director of corporate development at Applied Materials, a producer of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. He had already worked at professional services firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte Consulting, and as an executive for breast cancer imaging startup R2 Technology.

Powerlist cover

The Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist represents the 100
individuals spearheading the future of the corporate venturing industry.

These individuals excel in terms of their venturing approach and structure, number and quality of portfolio companies and in their contributions to the corporate venturing profession.

See the full 2024 Powerlist here.