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Dr. Lars Ekman Joins Sofinnova Ventures


9/19/2008 9:29:33 AM

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Sofinnova Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage Life Science and Information Technology companies, today announced the appointment of Lars Ekman, M.D., Ph.D., and formerly the Executive Vice President, and President of Global Research and Development at Elan Corporation. Lars joins the Life Science team as an Executive-in-Residence. Within his role, Lars will work closely with the investment team to identify and build early-stage companies.

"Lars is a seasoned executive capable of guiding both private and public biopharmaceutical companies to success," said James Healy, Ph.D., M.D., and General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures. "Throughout his distinguished career, Lars has established a stellar track record in drug development and drug approvals making him an outstanding asset to the Sofinnova Ventures team and our portfolio companies."

Lars will be based in San Diego where several of the firm's Life Science portfolio companies are headquartered, including Cebix, Intellikine, Ocera Therapeutics, Phenomix, and Trius Therapeutics.

"I look forward to collaborating with the Sofinnova team and their portfolio of dynamic start-ups," said Lars Ekman. "My primary focus will be to assist and help structure early discovery and later stage development companies with their efforts to bring innovative therapies closer to the patients."

New Executive-in-Residence Appointment

Lars Ekman has more than 24 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

Previous to joining Sofinnova Ventures, Lars held the position of EVP, and President of Research and Development at Elan where he currently serves on Elan's Board of Directors and chairs the Science and Technology Committee.

Lars joined Elan in January 2001, and is credited with advancing Elan's drug pipeline. During this period Elan received approval for four U.S. New Drug Applications, three European Marketing Approval Applications, and five Investigational New Drug Applications. These efforts also included the progression of four Alzheimer's Programs into stages of clinical development.

Prior to joining Elan, Lars was EVP, Research and Development at Schwartz Pharma AG since 1997. From 1984 to 1997, Lars was employed in a variety of senior scientific and clinical functions at Pharmacia, now Pfizer.

Lars is a board certified surgeon with a Ph.D. in experimental biology. He obtained his Ph.D. and M.D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Lars also sits on the Board of Directors of ARYx Therapeutics, Fremont, CA, InterMune, Inc., Brisbane, CA, and Cebix, Inc., La Jolla, CA. InterMune and Cebix are portfolio companies of Sofinnova Ventures.

About Sofinnova Ventures

Founded in 1974, Sofinnova Ventures is a leading venture capital firm specializing in spin-outs and emphasizing a diversified investment strategy through the financing of early-stage companies in the Life Science and Information Technology sectors. Sofinnova Ventures mission is to create value by providing entrepreneurs with the resources, experience and networks necessary to turn their ideas in to profitable businesses. For more information, visit http://www.sofinnova.com.

CONTACT: Carol Wentworth of Sofinnova Ventures, +1-415-228-3395,
carol@sofinnova.com

Web site: http://www.sofinnova.com/



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