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When to call it quits: VCs making tough decisions in a tough market

While the public biotech markets remain volatile, VCs continue to raise new funds. Are we witnessing a renaissance in the private capital markets? The bankruptcy rate of biotechs is historically among the lowest of US publicly traded companies, however, companies are failing and there is still a widely held belief that too many biotech companies are in existence today. What are the hallmarks of companies that will not make it, and when does it make sense to ‘call it’ or divest? Join Jerel Davis, Managing Director at Versant Ventures, Otello Stampacchia, Founder & Managing Director at Omega Funds, Simeon George, CEO & Managing Partner at SR One and RBC’s Noël Brown, Head of US Biotechnology Investment Banking, for a roundtable discussion on navigating the path to growth.

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Otello Stampacchia

Otello Stampacchia

Managing Director, Omega Funds

Otello founded Omega Funds in 2004 and leads the firm’s investor relations and strategic initiatives. He is a member of the firm’s investment committee and is also heavily involved in a number of Omega’s therapeutic areas of interest, particularly in oncology, rare diseases and inflammatory disorders.

Previously, Otello was in charge of life sciences direct investments and diligence for healthcare venture fund of fund investments at AlpInvest Partners, one of the largest private equity asset managers worldwide. Before AlpInvest, he was the portfolio manager of the Lombard Odier Immunology Fund, a $3 billion listed investment vehicle in Geneva, Switzerland, investing in public and private healthcare companies worldwide. Previously, Otello was a member of the HealthCare corporate finance and M&A team at Goldman Sachs (London and New York offices). Before Goldman, he helped co-found the healthcare investment activities at Index Securities (now Index Ventures). Otello has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Geneva, holds a European Doctorate in Biotechnology from the EU, and obtained an MSc in Genetics from the University of Pavia.

Jerel Davis

Jerel Davis

Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Jerel Davis, Ph.D., is a Managing Director based in Vancouver, Canada. Since joining Versant in 2011, he has been involved in launching and investing in a number of Versant’s portfolio companies including BlueRock (sale), Crispr (public 2016), Inception 4 (sale), Inception 5 (sale), Quanticel (sale), Akero (2019 IPO), Northern (sale), Repare (2020 IPO), Chinook (2020 reverse merger), Graphite Bio (2021 IPO), Turnstone, Ventus, Rayze and Tentarix. He has focused on company creation, syndicated deals, and creative corporate transactions. He was also instrumental in establishing Versant’s presence in Canada. Jerel was promoted to Managing Director at Versant in December 2015.

Prior to joining Versant, Jerel was an Associate Principal at McKinsey and Company where he advised healthcare corporations in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical device and molecular diagnostics. He has worked in a number of healthcare markets globally including the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Russia and India. Jerel was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, where he also completed his Ph.D., and trained at Amgen as a researcher.

Simeon George

Simeon George

CEO & Managing Partner, SR One

Simeon is CEO and Managing Partner of SR One. Simeon co-founded SR One Capital Management following its spin-out from GSK in 2020, raising over $1 billion across two venture funds in that time. Previously, he worked in management consulting (Bain & Co.) and investment banking (Goldman Sachs). Simeon led SR One’s investments in several marquee deals including CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP), Principia Biopharma (PRNB), Turning Point Therapeutics (TPTX), Progyny (PGNY), and he co-founded both Nkarta Therapeutics (NKTX) and Arcellx (ACLX).

Simeon has a BA from the Johns Hopkins University and an MD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine/The Wharton School.

Noël Brown

Noël Brown

Managing Director and Head of U.S. Biotechnology Investment Banking, RBC Capital Markets

Noël Brown is the Managing Director and Head of U.S. Biotechnology Investment Banking at RBC Capital Markets, responsible for leading the biotechnology franchise. He has over 20 years of investment banking experience. Noël graduated from the University of Western Ontario and received a law degree from the University of Ottawa and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Business.

Click here to dive deeper into the fast-changing world of biopharma with expert perspectives from RBC Capital Markets.