Program Report: Art Pappas – Pappas Ventures

Editor’s note: There were technical problems with the camera and I did not get any photos from Monday’s meeting. OK, it was really my failure to notice that the memory card in the camera was full. Anyway, this picture is from a presentation that Mr. Pappas gave at Wake Forest. I’ll retake the other photos. One of the best pictures was of Mr. Pappas, Don Stanger, who introduced him and Paul Feldman, who was a guest of Past President Stanger and has addressed the club twice before and whose company was helped to launch by Pappas Ventures. www.Pappsventures.com has more about the company.  -JZ

Club member Art Pappas filled us in on the latest developments in his 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries–including Glaxo, Abbott and Dow–and as a venture capital investor in the life sciences.  After leaving Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Art founded a venture capital business in 1994.  Since then Pappas Capital has managed nearly half billion dollars and invested in more than 70 life science companies.  These companies are developing drugs and devices. to combat and treat melanomas, pneumonia, spinal injuries, among other medical problems.

By focusing solely on life science companies, Pappas Ventures has developed expertise in development, clinical trial strategies and networking to find talent and capital.  Of particular interest are startups or established companies whose products have market potential and are ready for phase one or two clinical trials.  Approximately 70 percent of the venture capital is invested in drugs and the remainder in devices and diagnostics.

The Translational Medicine Initiative was created to help university scientists to translate academic projects into viable licensing products or promising startups.  One of these cooperative ventures is with the medical center at Wake Forest.

Art’s passion is developing and mentoring entrepreneurs and helping them build companies that will make significant contributions to the life sciences.

There are two developments or trends that make the life science field so exciting and promising.  One is the phenomenal growth worldwide that shows no sign of abating.  And, second, groundbreaking strides in science, particularly biology.  Another trend Art noted is the increased outsourcing of R&D by major companies.

Conceding that the San Francisco/Palo Alto/Menlo Park and Cambridge areas are the principal hubs of breakthroughs in life sciences, Pappas is convinced that the outlook for North Carolina is bright.

Responding to a question about the FDA that has sometimes been accused of placing roadblocks to approval of drugs and devices, the FDA, in his view has become more transparent and helpful.

He pointed out that Pappas-assisted products approved by the FDA have accounted for several billion dollars in sales over the past five years.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg

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