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Society News Update, 19 Jan. 2017

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We ask for your help in the next 3 months to interview the great candidates that have been nominated by our Society for Class 22. Interviewers’ feedback strongly influences admission decisions, and each Fellow who interviews a candidate provides an important perspective. Please complete this form if you are able to assist, letting us know your availability during January–March. Your prompt response is much appreciated and will help us schedule candidates efficiently.

Headlines

  • Cidara Therapeutics completes enrollment of Phase 2 clinical trial; Jeff Stein (Class 10) new chairman of Antimicrobials Working Group…
  • John Kim (Class 20) featured in AgFunder News Q&A session…
  • Dan Crowley’s (Class 16) Genomics Medicine Ireland to start mapping genomes of 45,000 people…
  • Ewa Grzechnik Treitz (Class 19) and Carl Fritjofsson (Class 21) tapped for 2017 predictions…
  • Grace Sai’s (Class 21) Impact Hub Singapore announces $1M seed fund…
  • Daniel Kraft (Class 13) contributes to Wired’s annual trends briefing, and is interviewed on health IT…
  • Portfolio happenings: Kernel Capital led recent €3M round for Corlytics (Ger Goold, Class 17) • Bob More (Class 2, Mentor Class 7) to join the board of Vir Biotechnology • Invitalia Ventures makes 2 new investments (Salvo Mizzi, Class 16, Mentor Class 21 & Mario Scuderi, Class 21) • Charlotte Hubbert (Class 14) led recent Gates Foundation investment in Intarcia.
  • Job openings: Is your firm or portfolio company looking for just the right person to fill some big shoes? Email us the pertinent information and we’ll be happy to announce it here in the monthly eBulletin and also in the weekly Society News Update (jobs are listed for 4 weeks unless otherwise requested).
  • This week’s blog selections: Rob Coneybeer (Class 2), explains why Shasta Ventures is backing an Estonian startup, the firm’s first international investment • Guy Turner (Class 17) writes of his upcoming 5-day “Midwest Startup Tour”

Cidara Therapeutics completes Enrollment of Phase 2 Clinical Trial; Jeff Stein (Class 10) New Chairman of Antimicrobials Working Group

Cidara TherapeuticsCidara Therapeutics, led by Jeff Stein (Class 10), announced last month that it completed patient enrollment in its RADIANT trial, a Phase 2, randomized clinical trial “evaluating the safety, tolerability and efficacy of two topical treatment regimens” of its new antifungal in 125 patients across the United States. Cidara expects to report topline data in the next few months. If approved, its antifungal, CD101, would be the first novel treatment for vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in over 20 years—and, according to Jeff, the current class of therapies available has significant limitations. [Press release]

Jeff has been named Chairman of the Antimicrobials Working Group (AWG). Founded in 2012, AWG consists of 13 companies “utilizing collective power to improve the regulatory, investment, and commercial environment for emerging antibiotics and antifungal companies.” [Press release]


John Kim (Class 20) Featured in AgFunder News Q&A Session

AgFunder NewsIn a recent AgFunder News Q&A session, Amasia’s Managing Partner and founder John Kim (Class 20) talks about his work with the agricultural sector, from his beginnings in commodities trading to investment research in agtech for his multi-family office. In selecting investments, John says, “As we thought about how to get to the top tier of startups and ensure we’re value-adding investors, we realized our strength was our LP base and our ability to help with cross-border expansion from the US to Asia.” His firm decided to take a different investing route than the norm, toward a more active role as an incubator by building relationships between startups and investors. John says, “a way of de-risking [the investment] for us now is to bring the startups over to Asia to meet our agriculture families and see what partnerships we can arrange between them before we make any investment. It could be that they give us a percentage of their revenues in exchange for us distributing their products, for example. This is a nice way to ‘date’ each other before investing.” Read the full article.


Dan Crowley’s (Class 16) Genomics Medicine Ireland to Start Mapping Genomes of 45,000 People

Genomics Medicine IrelandGenomics Medicine Ireland (GMI), headed up by Dan Crowley (Class 16), announced this week that it is beginning work to map the genomes of 45,000 volunteer participants from around Ireland. The firm’s use of population-based genetic analysis builds upon work done previously by DeCode in Iceland. While not as homogeneous as Iceland, Ireland is much more homogeneous than most countries, and until recently, migration was primarily people leaving the island, not coming to it.

The project will be a 15-year collaboration between GMI, AbbVie, and DeCode spinoff WuXi NextCODE, and will focus on genetics related to oncology, neuroscience, and immunology. Of the alliance, Dan said, “This partnership validates the vision that created Genomics Medicine Ireland. … We will leverage our deep expertise in life sciences and the unique characteristics of the Irish population to discover critical insights into disease, disease progression, and therapeutic response. The resulting therapies to cure and prevent these diseases will benefit patients both here in Ireland and around the world.” [Irish Times article] [Press release]


Ewa Grzechnik Treitz (Class 19) and Carl Fritjofsson (Class 21) Tapped for 2017 Predictions

Fast CompanyFastCompany included Ewa Grzechnik Treitz (Class 19) and Carl Fritjofsson (Class 21) in their article, “Eight VCs’ Predictions on the Year Ahead in Innovation.” Ewa discusses one of her passions, robotics, noting that the cheapest programmable robotic arm ever made will hit the market in 2017 (the Franka “Emika”). Its introduction will allow some manufacturing to return to countries with high labor costs, such as the US and Germany (however, manufacturing jobs may not come along with it). Carl is focused on data: “We’re sure to see an evolution with sharing and collaboration of data, similar to how open-source software development allows thousands of developers to create products together with no single entity claiming the rights to the innovation. … Instead of confining data to internal silos, by contributing and having access to a larger data set across organizations, each participant of the data network will benefit instantly.” Read all the 2017 predictions from these VCs.


Grace Sai’s (Class 21) Impact Hub Singapore Announces $1M Seed Fund

Impact Hub SingaporeImpact Hub Singapore, led by Grace Sai (Class 21), announced this week the creation of a $1M fund—Hub Ventures Fund—to invest in early-stage startups. The fund’s initial investors include family offices, HNWIs, and members of The Hub’s co-working community. Among the fund’s advisors are Hian Goh (Class 20) of NSI Ventures, and Ong Peng (Mentor Classes 18 & 21) of Monk’s Hill Ventures. Noting that Hub community members have collectively raised over $250M in the last 4 years, Grace said, “We imagined how much more valuable a partner we could be if we could seed them and help them get follow-on funding.” Read the Straits Times article.


Daniel Kraft (Class 13) Contributes to Wired’s Annual Trends Briefing, and Is Interviewed on Health IT

WIREDDaniel Kraft (Class 13) authored “Quantified Self to Quantified Health: How Tech Helps Doctors Fill Gaps in Patient Records,” an article in Wired magazine’s annual trends briefing, “The WIRED World in 2017.”

“Just having data (in increasingly overwhelming amounts) from disparate devices and apps does not alone translate to better health and prevention or improved management of disease. The data and analytics need to connect with clinical endeavours to be translated into knowledge and actionable information.” For patients and consumers, information needs to be easily accessible and understandable; for providers, that data must also fit seamlessly into their clinical workflow. On both sides of the table, having sophisticated software is paramount for turning data into actionable information.

Daniel was also at the Digital Health Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Watch an interview from the Summit where Daniel discusses some of the latest developments in health technology.


Portfolio happenings:

  • Ger Goold (Class 17) and Kernel Capital led the recent €3M round for Corlytics, raising the firm’s stake to €1.9M. Corlytics is a “risk-focused financial intelligence technology company providing banks and financial services firms with software that helps them to identify avoidable losses and fines.” [Silicon Republic article]
  • In an addendum to last week’s announcement about the founding and funding of Vir Biotechnology (calling out Robert Nelsen, Mentor Classes 4 & 16; and Charlotte Hubbert, Class 14), we’re pleased to announce that another Kauffman Fellow, Bob More (Class 2, Mentor Class 7) of Alta Partners, is now on Vir’s board of directors.
  • Invitalia Ventures (Salvo Mizzi, Class 16, Mentor Class 21; and Mario Scuderi, Class 21) completed two investments in recent weeks. The firm led the €1.4M Series A round for Pedius, which has a mobile app that allows the deaf and hard of hearing to make regular phone calls using speech synthesis and voice recognition [Press release]. Invitalia also invested €300M of a €700M funding round for Remoria VR, which makes a high-performance VR mobile controller with low latency and a high data-transmission rate. [Press release]
  • Charlotte Hubbert (Class 14), head of venture investing at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led the organization’s recent investment in and partnership with the biopharma company Intarcia. The Foundation is committing $140M in grants and equity toward Intarcia’s development of an implantable, once- or twice-yearly anti-HIV prophylactic therapy—the first of its kind. The announcement came as part of Intarcia’s $206M Series EE second close. [Press release]

This week’s blog selections:

  • In a blog post titled, “Why Shasta Invested in an Estonian Starship,” Rob Coneybeer (Class 2) relays his excitement over Shasta Ventures’ part in a $17.2 million round for Starship Technologies. The Estonian startup focuses on building autonomous robotic devices capable of transporting goods and people on the ground—and at scale. The robot-delivery sector just makes sense, says Rob. “Why use a Honda Civic to deliver a pizza, when you could use something a lot smaller, cheaper, and with far lower energy requirements?” [Press release]
  • Next week Guy Turner (Class 17) will start the 5-day journey described in “Midwest Startup Tour: Little Cities, No Little Plans.“ He’ll be at Purdue University in Indiana; The Water Council, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the University of Chicago; Notre Dame University in Indiana; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read the full post to see why Guy thinks the Midwest has some great ingredients for mini-tech hubs, and email Guy if you would like to meet him on his tour.

Do you write a blog, or have an essay you’d like to share? Email news@kfp.org and we’ll include it here.


Do you have a news story to share? Please email us: news@kfp.org.

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