Building special companies means investing in special people. We believe in backing our entrepreneurs again and again.
Katrine Bosley is a successful entrepreneur and biotechnology executive who has played an instrumental role in bringing innovative therapies to patients. While at Biogen, Katrine was a key member of teams developing Avonex and Tysabri, transformative medicines for patients suffering from multiple scelorosis. Polaris is proud to have backed Katrine at Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb), and again as CEO of Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene).
Steven Brugger is among the early executive leaders who helped realize biotechnology’s promise to patients and the economy. Over three decades, he held leadership positions at Novartis, Ayerst (Wyeth), Hoechst (Aventis), and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (Takeda). Steve joined Polaris-backed Momenta Pharmaceuticals as Chief Operating Officer, which grew from a private start-up to a successful public biotechnology company. Steve is now CEO of Polaris-backed Visterra, which is developing new approaches to treat and protect against all strains of influenza.
Michael Cima, PhD, the David H. Koch Chair of Engineering at MIT, is a world leader in the field of materials processing. Michael was a member of the TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) leadership team, and has used his focus on drug delivery improvement to co-found three additional Polaris-backed companies, MicroCHIPS, T2 Biosystems and Taris Biomedical.
Robert Clarke, PhD, an expert in pulmonary drug delivery, began his bio/pharmaceutical company career developing therapeutic products at Alkermes using technology from the acquisition of Advanced Inhalation Research, an early Polaris-backed company. In 2004, Robert became the first scientist at Polaris-backed Pulmatrix, where he now leads the company as CEO.
David Edwards, PhD, the Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard University, is one of the most inspired product development entrepreneurs in the world today. David was the co-founder of one of Polaris’ early companies, Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), and has since founded Polaris-backed Aeroshot and WikiCell Designs.
Sean Ellis, the entrepreneurial community’s leading Web-focused marketing executive, has been the head of marketing for several successful technology companies through acquisition or IPO, including Polaris-backed LogMeIn. We are proud to be backing Sean again as CEO of the innovative web-marketing company Qualaroo.
Colin Gardner, PhD, the former Vice President and Global Head of Formulation Design and Development for all Merck products, is a world leader in the development of effective therapeutics. After developing 19 approved drugs at Merck, Colin joined Polaris-backed TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) as Chief Scientific Officer. Colin then co-founded Polaris-backed Kala, and is also bringing his scientific expertise to Living Proof.
Tillman Gerngross, PhD, Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, has founded several highly successful companies, including Polaris-backed GlycoFi (acquired by Merck). The journal Nature Biotechnology named Gerngross one of the most notable people in biotechnology of the past decade. Since GlycoFi, Gerngross has co-founded three additional Polaris-backed companies, Adimab, Arsanis, and, most recently, Avitide.
George Haddad founded Liaison International, the pioneer and dominate provider of centralized application solutions for colleges, universities, and graduate school associations. We were proud to back George as the first outside investor in Liaison, and following the company’s recapitalization, to reinvest a second time to support further growth.
Charles Hutchinson, PhD, Dean emeritus of Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, is a serial entrepreneur who developed Dartmouth’s PhD innovation curriculum. Hutch, as he is known, co-founded the Polaris-backed biotechnology company GlycoFi (acquired by Merck). He then co-founded and serves as Chair of Polaris-backed energy company SustainX.
Tim Kilgallon, JD, is a serial entrepreneur and CEO who has led three companies to acquisition, including Polaris-backed Free & Clear, the successful wellness and disease management services firm. Tim, who serves on the board of Polaris-backed Athletes’ Performance, is now developing his second Polaris company, Bohola.
Mike Koziel, PhD is a leading entrepreneur in the agriculture-biotechnology field. He helped develop Herculex and Herculex RW, the two current largest selling insect control traits in agriculture. Polaris is proud to have backed Mike at Paradigm Genetics, which went public in 2000, Athenix Corporation (acquired by Bayer) and now at AgBiome, which is developing agricultural products to improve crop productivity.
Richard Kresch, MD, a psychiatrist and former attending physician, is one of the United States’ leading mental health innovators, creating new models of care that have benefited many thousands of patients. As Founder and CEO of Polaris-backed Ascend Health (acquired by Universal Health Services), he developed the country’s largest private psychiatric hospital company. We are proud to be backing Richard again at U.S. Healthvest, which is developing psychiatric facilities with a focus on specialized, high-quality patient care.
Robert Langer, PhD, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, is America’s greatest modern day inventor. Robert has helped start 25 companies, has 811 patents issued or pending, and more than 250 companies have licensed or sublicensed Langer Lab patents. Together with Robert we’ve built 18 companies with the potential to improve the health and well-being of many millions of patients and consumers.
14 Other Companies, Co-Founder
Robert LangerAIR, Momenta, TransForm, Pervasis, 14 Other Companies
Nagesh Mahanthappa has spent the past two decades as an instrumental force in the biotechnology industry at the interface of science and business. Nagesh began his career at Vertex Pharmaceuticals prior to entering the world of startups. Polaris is proud to have backed Nagesh at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY), Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene) and Scholar Rock.
Doug McNary, one of the leading enterprise software company builders, has been CEO or a senior executive leader at several successful technology companies through acquisition or IPO, including Polaris-backed VKernel. We are proud to be backing Doug again at Logentries, his next great enterprise software firm.
John Mendlein has spent over two decades shaping the biotechnology industry through transformative and disruptive therapeutics. John began his career leading biotechnology companies in numerous roles at Aurora Biosciences, one of the original biotechnology platform companies, which discovered and initiated development of Kalydeco, an important medicine for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. Polaris has been fortunate to back John at Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by BristolMyersSquibb), Fate Therapeutics and aTyr Pharma.
Avi Penner is a leading developer of innovative medical technologies, holding more than 50 patents and patent applications in the medical device field. Avi led R&D at Polaris-backed Remon Medical Technologies (acquired by Boston Scientific), and we have been proud to back him again as Founder and CEO of InSeal Medical.
Irfan Salim is a five-time CEO/COO who has repeatedly built exceptional customer, shareholder and industry value. Irfan is a board member of Polaris-backed LogMeIn, which went public in 2009, and was CEO of Polaris-backed MarkMonitor (acquired by Thomson Reuters), which he built into a leading brand protection firm that served half of the companies on the Fortune 100.
Ram Sasisekharan, PhD, the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Health Sciences & Technology and Biological Engineering at MIT, is one of the leading molecular scientists in the world today. Ram was the co-founder of Polaris-backed biotechnology company Momenta Pharmaceutials (NASDAQ: MNTA), and we are proud to back him again at Cerulean Pharma and Visterra.
Steve Schelhammer is a 25-year healthcare veteran and expert in disease management systems. Steve founded Polaris-backed Accordant Health Services (acquired by CVS/Caremark), one of the country’s first disease management companies. He is now founder and CEO of Polaris-backed Phytel, which is using population health technology to deliver timely, more coordinated patient care.
Paul Schimmel, PhD, the Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor at the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research, is both a preeminent scientist and the co-founder of several successful biotechnology companies. Paul co-founded Polaris-backed Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) and aTyr Pharma, while also being a director at Momenta Pharmaceutials.
David Sinclair, PhD, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging, is one of world’s leading experts in the understanding of diseases associated with aging. Through his work, David co-founded Polaris-backed Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), and we were proud to back him and HMS colleague Darren Higgins at Genocea Biosciences.
Kari Stefansson, MD, Dr. med, former Professor of Neuroscience at Harvard and Director of Neuropathology at Beth Israel Hospital, built deCODE Genetics—the first large scale genomics research platform (combining Icelandic blood samples with the country’s conserved genealogical and healthcare records)—into the world’s most powerful genetics discovery engine. deCODE went public on our initial investment, and was acquired following a second Polaris investment. We were proud to back Kari both times.
Scott Uknes has spent two decades shaping the business models in the agriculture-biotechnology field. Scott began his career at Ciba-Geigy before co-founding Paradigm Genetics, one of the original companies bringing the power of genetics to the agricultural industry. Polaris is proud to have backed Scott at Paradigm Genetics, which went public in 2000, Athenix Corporation (acquired by Bayer) and now at AgBiome, which is developing agricultural products to improve crop productivity.