MENLO PARK, CA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2012) - Dr. Guido Magni, a highly experienced scientist and biopharmaceutical clinical development expert, is joining Versant Ventures as a venture partner to further strengthen the firm's investment team and expand its biotechnology footprint in Europe and other countries worldwide. Dr. Magni will invest in innovative startups as part of Versant's strategy to fund first-in-class healthcare technologies.
"Guido brings a unique combination of corporate experience, clinical expertise and a proven track record of developing breakthrough therapies," said Brad Bolzon, a Versant managing director. "He will give Versant a competitive edge and help our portfolio companies more effectively navigate the challenges of the drug development and regulatory environment. Understanding this environment is one of the key factors for success today in healthcare investing."
"Additionally," Bolzon added, "Guido will manage our new Versant subsidiary office in Basel to source opportunities through his deep network with entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies."
Dr. Magni was previously a managing director of EuroVentures Inc., a Versant biotechnology incubator, and there played an instrumental role in Versant's investment in Okairos, a clinical stage genetic vaccine company spun out from Merck. He was also closely involved in investments in Flexion Therapeutics, a developer of innovative therapeutics for musculoskeletal disorders, and in Synosia Therapeutics, a developer of novel treatments for neurological disorders. Dr. Magni is currently a board member of Biotie Therapies, a drug development company that acquired Synosia. He also served on the Board of Adolor Corporation until its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceutical in 2011.
Before EuroVentures, Dr. Magni was the Global Head of Medical Sciences at Roche for 12 years. There he oversaw the development strategy of more than a dozen successfully launched products during his tenure, including Mabthera/Rituxan, Tamiflu, Pegasys, Herceptin, Xeloda, Tarceva and Actemra. Dr. Magni holds both an MD and PhD degree (in neuropharmacology) from the University of Padua in Italy and is the author of more than 100 papers published in international peer review journals.
Dr. Magni will be based in Basel, as was EuroVentures. Basel is the home of Roche and Novartis, with whom Dr. Magni has worked extensively during his career. In addition to these pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Magni also will work with entrepreneurs and academicians and focus on new investment opportunities elsewhere in Europe and the world.
Tom Woiwode, another Versant venture partner who also serves as the chief operating officer of Okairos, will work with Dr. Magni in Basel. Dr. Woiwode will continue to split his time between Versant and operating responsibilities for Okairos, an important portfolio company. Additional people will be hired in the Basel office in the future.
Dr. Woiwode was previously the chief operating officer of EuroVentures. There he served as chief business officer during the start-up phase of Flexion Therapeutics, Synosia Therapeutics and Amira Pharmaceuticals, a developer of drugs to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2011. He joined Versant in 2002 at its Menlo Park office and was promoted to principal in 2004. In 2010, he moved to Europe as a venture partner to catalyze Versant's expansion. In this role, he managed a strategic alliance with the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and also played a pivotal role in Versant's investment in Okairos. Dr. Woiwode holds bachelor degrees, with distinction, in English and chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD. in chemistry from Stanford University.
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that specializes in investments in game changing medical devices, biopharmaceuticals, and other life science opportunities. Founded in 1999, the firm consists of an experienced team of managing directors committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful companies that impact healthcare and improve quality of life. The firm's successful IPOs include Clovis Oncology, Fluidigm, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Genomic Health and Insulet. M&A exits include Amira, LenSX, Acclarent and Ablation Frontiers. Versant has 13 Managing Directors, 10 of whom are actively investing, with more than 170 years of venture capital investing experience and approximately 145 years of operating experience. The firm currently manages $1.6 billion in capital and has invested in more than 95 portfolio companies. In addition to the Versant subsidiary office in Basel, Versant has three offices in California in Silicon Valley, Orange County and San Francisco.