L O A D I N G
  • extraordinary
    starts here

    TCG is a science-driven venture capital firm focused on nurturing a select group of early stage drug discovery companies with unique scientific platforms that can change the world.

Mission & Strategy

The Column Group (TCG) is a science-driven venture capital firm that makes significant financial and operational commitments to build early stage drug discovery companies based on their unique scientific platforms and potential to deliver multiple breakthrough therapeutics.

TCG’s investment strategy runs counter to the prevailing trend in life sciences venture capital toward assembling diversified portfolios of later stage, single product-orientated companies across multiple industry sectors, with proximity to value inflection points and the early identification of a Pharma “buyer” as key investment considerations.

In contrast, TCG takes the long view in making investments, recognizing that significant time is often required to generate significant value. Our approach is not “building-to-exit.” Key variables, including scientific opportunities, the competitive and regulatory landscape, and Pharma priorities, can change very rapidly. Instead, TCG’s mission is the generation of fundamentally strong companies, built from the ground up, based on great science and the ability to generate multiple differentiated product opportunities.

Rather than diversification, TCG emphasizes focus. We are dedicated to early stage drug discovery as the best source of a new generation of novel, highly effective human therapies. We believe that the most critical resources, such as great ideas, world class founders, and top quality managerial and scientific talent, are very rare and that concentrating them within a small cohort of companies is the key path to success.

TCG is about the bold pursuit of big ideas using innovative science to generate breakthrough therapies that address significant diseases. Our firm is committed to all facets of company building and brings together a rich combination of scientific, financial and operational expertise to shape promising science into a value-rich portfolio poised to have a profound impact on human health.

  • TCG's success starts with idea generation, having the capacity and connections across the scientific community to generate at least the germ of a powerful idea in-house.  That’s not something you find everywhere.

    Richard Heyman, CEO, Seragon Pharmaceuticals
  • The Column Group is a 'big science, dare-to-dream' venture fund. They identify large, unmet needs in life sciences and back these ideas and teams with conviction.

    Bill Rieflin, CEO, NGM Biopharmaceuticals
  • The driving force behind TCG is great science and the desire to start meaningful companies with a key platform component that will be here for the long term.

    Dr. David Baltimore, Science Partner, The Column Group

Our Team

 

Vital to the execution of TCG’s unique strategy is the ability to tap the extraordinary capabilities of its team, comprising Partners and Science Partners with decades of collective experience building, operating, and financing biotech companies, as well as successfully discovering and developing drugs. With six members of the National Academy of Sciences, three Nobel Prize winners, and several current and former members of biotech/big pharma senior management and boards of directors, TCG has nearly unrivaled access to new company ideas, entrepreneurs, and top scientific and managerial talent.
 

LEADERSHIP

David V. Goeddel, PhD

Managing Partner

Dr. Goeddel was the first scientist hired by Genentech and from 1978 to 1993 served in various positions, including Staff Scientist, Director of Molecular Biology and Genentech Fellow. His pioneering work in the fields of gene cloning and expression of human proteins was the basis for five marketed therapeutics developed by Genentech, including human insulin, human growth hormone, interferon-alpha, interferon-gamma, and tissue plasminogen activator.

Dr. Goeddel co-founded Tularik in November 1991, was Vice President of Research until 1996 and CEO from 1996 - 2004, when Tularik was acquired by Amgen. He served as Amgen’s first Senior Scientific Vice President until 2006. Dr. Goeddel has received numerous scientific awards including the Scheele Medal, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, the Inventor of the Year Award, the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award, the Howley Prize for Arthritis Research and the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from UCSD and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U. of Colorado.

Board of Directors: Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Igenica Biotherapeutics (Chairman), NGM Biopharmaceuticals (Chairman), Nurix, Peloton Therapeutics, Flexus Biosciences

Scientific Advisory Board: Peloton Therapeutics

Tim Kutzkey, PhD

Partner

Dr. Kutzkey joined The Column Group in 2007 and has since contributed to the conception, formation, and management of many of the firm’s portfolio companies. He currently serves as a Board Director of Peloton Therapeutics, a company he launched in 2010, as the interim President and CEO. In addition to Peloton, Dr. Kutzkey serves as a member of the Board of Directors of both Nurix and Carmot Therapeutics and is a Board Observer at Igenica.

Dr. Kutzkey was formerly a scientist at KAI Pharmaceuticals, focused on the discovery and development of selective protein kinase C inhibitors. Prior to KAI, he worked at UC Berkeley as a graduate student and postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Robert Tjian, completing his Ph.D. in 2005. Dr. Kutzkey was previously educated at Stanford University.

Board of Directors: Peloton Therapeutics, Nurix, Carmot Therapeutics

Larry Lasky, PhD

Partner

Dr. Lasky joined The Column Group in 2014. Dr. Lasky is an expert in biotechnology, a field that he has worked in commercially for over 32 years. In 1981, he was a founding scientist of Genetics Institute (acquired by Wyeth), one of the earliest biotechnology companies.

He was subsequently a leading scientist at Genentech for 20 years, where he worked in various disciplines including vaccinology, immunology, stem cell biology, cellular signaling mechanisms, and monoclonal antibody therapy of tumors. He is a co-author on over 135 publications and a co-inventor on 37 issued and pending patents, several of which generate significant licensing royalties. He was a standing member of the Research Review Committee that directed research across all product areas at the company. He also attained the company's highest scientific position, Genentech Fellow, in 1995.

As a general partner at Latterell Venture Partners from 2002 to 2007, Larry was instrumental in the founding of Proteolix (acquired by Onyx), Oncomed (nasdaq: OMED), and Cellective Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Medimmune). During his tenure at USVP, he founded or co-founded Intellikine Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Millennium/Takeda), Calithera Pharmaceuticals, Cleave Pharmaceuticals and eFFECTOR pharmaceuticals.

Board of Directors: Carmot Therapeutics, eFFECTOR Pharmaceuticals

Peter Svennilson

Founder / Managing Partner

Peter Svennilson has worked in venture capital and finance for the past 28 years. He was the Chairman of Aragon Pharmaceuticals from startup until it was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2013 and was the Chairman of Seragon Pharmaceuticals until it was sold to Genentech in 2014. He is a Board Director of NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Immune Design.

Prior to TCG, he was the Founder and Managing Partner of Three Crowns Capital where he helped finance large parts of the venture capital for biotech companies such as Tularik, Rosetta, PTC, Chemocentryx, Rinat, Tercica, Somalogic, Infinity and Fiveprime. Prior to Three Crowns Capital he was the Associate Managing Director in charge of European Investment Banking Origination at Nomura in London. Mr. Svennilson is a Trustee at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Board of Directors: Immune Design, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, ORIC Pharmaceuticals (Chairman)

SCIENCE PARTNERS

David Baltimore, PhD

Science Partner

Dr. Baltimore is President Emeritus and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology of the California Institute of Technology. He has received numerous honors during his distinguished career, including the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975 for discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell, and the 1999 National Medal of Science. His present research focuses on gene transcription and gene therapy for AIDS and cancer. He has served as President of the Rockefeller University, and was the Founding Director of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society (England). Dr. Baltimore is a current board member of Amgen.

Board of Directors: Immune Design

Scientific Advisory Board: Immune Design

Michael S. Brown, MD

Science Partner

Dr. Brown is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He and his long-time colleague, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, together discovered the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls the level of cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that leads to premature heart attacks in one out of every 500 people in most populations. They have received many awards for this work, including the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology (1985), the Albert D. Lasker Prize in Basic Medical Research (1985), and the U.S. National Medal of Science (1988).

Dr. Brown is a former member of the Board of Directors of Pfizer, a position he held for 16 years.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Regeneron and is a former member of the Science Advisory Board of Genentech. Dr. Brown is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, Royal Society (London), the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Scientific Advisory Board: NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Peloton Therapeutics

Joseph L. Goldstein, MD

Science Partner

Dr. Goldstein is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He and his long-time colleague, Dr. Michael S. Brown, have worked together for the last 30 years on the genetics and regulation of cholesterol metabolism. Their discovery of the LDL receptor as the major molecule regulating cholesterol metabolism and its genetic disruption in the human disease familial hypercholesterolemia have been recognized by their receipt of numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1985), the Albert D. Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research (1985), and the U.S. National Medal of Science (1988). More recently, Drs. Goldstein and Brown discovered the SREBP family of membrane-bound transcription factors and the elucidation of the proteolytic pathway by which the SREBPs become activated to regulate lipid metabolism. Dr. Goldstein also received the Albany Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2003).

Currently, Dr. Goldstein is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Rockefeller University and the Board of Trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He serves on several scientific committees for academic institutions and he is a member of the Science Advisory Boards of Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, FivePrime, and ARMGO, and is a former consultant to Merck, Schering Plough and Amgen. Dr. Goldstein is also Chairman of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards Jury.

Scientific Advisory Board: NGM Biopharmaceuticals

Tom Maniatis, PhD

Science Partner

Dr. Maniatis is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University Medical School in New York. He pioneered the development of gene cloning technology and its application to the study of eukaryotic gene regulation. He also co-authored the Molecular Cloning Manual, which was instrumental in the world-wide dissemination of the technology. The primary focus of his current research is to understand neurodegenerative disease mechanisms.

Dr. Maniatis is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and has received numerous awards for his research contributions, including the Eli Lilly Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology, the Richard Lounsbery Award for Biology and Medicine from the U.S. and French National Academies of Science, and the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.

He is a co-founder of Genetics Institute, where he chaired the Science Advisory Board and served on the Board of Directors for over 17 years. During this time the company gained FDA approval for several protein-based drugs, including EPO, Factor VIII and Factor IX, GM-CSF and bone morphogenic proteins.

He was also a co-founder of ProScript Inc., which discovered the drug Velcade for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Velcade is the leading product of Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Maniatis is a co-founder, member of the Board of Directors, and head of the SAB of Acceleron Pharma, which is developing drugs to treat musculoskeletal diseases.

Board of Directors: Constellation Pharmaceuticals


Roger Perlmutter, MD, PhD

Science Partner

Dr. Perlmutter is the Executive Vice President and President of Merck Research Laboratories. From 2001 until 2012, he was the Executive Vice President for Research and Development at Amgen. He was responsible for the registration of ten significant new drugs including Sensipar™, Prolia™ and Xgeva™. Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Perlmutter was for many years Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also served as Executive Vice President for Worldwide Discovery and Preclinical Research at Merck & Co. Dr. Perlmutter is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Charles Sawyers, MD

Science Partner

Charles Sawyers, MD, is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the inaugural Director of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. His laboratory is currently focused on characterizing signal transduction pathway abnormalities in prostate cancer, with an eye toward translational implications. His earlier research focused on BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase function in chronic myeloid leukemia. This work, and that of colleagues Brian Druker and Novartis, led to the development of the kinase inhibitor imatinib (Gleevec) as primary therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), and the discovery that imatinib resistance is caused by BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations. This discovery led him to evaluate second generation Abl kinase inhibitors, such as the dual Src/Abl inhibitor dasatinib, which received fast-track approval at the FDA in June 2006. Dr. Sawyer's more recent work in prostate cancer has defined critical signaling pathways for disease initiation and progression through studies in mouse models and human tissues. This preclinical work led to the development of a novel anti-androgen ARN-509, a small-molecule inhibitor discovered in collaboration with UCLA chemist Michael Jung, which targets the increased levels of androgen receptor found in hormone-refractory disease.

Dr. Sawyers is past President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and served on the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Councilors. He has won numerous honors and awards, including the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award, the Dorothy Landon Prize from the American Association of Cancer Research, the David A. Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and in 2010 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Richard Scheller, PhD

Science Partner

Richard H. Scheller joined 23andMe in April of 2015 as chief scientific officer and head of therapeutic development. He is responsible for translating genetic information into the discovery and development of new therapies for both common and rare diseases.

Prior to joining 23andMe, Dr. Scheller worked at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Scheller was responsible for overseeing the strategy for research, drug discovery, business development, and early development activities. He joined Genentech in 2001 as senior vice president of research and was promoted to executive vice president of research in 2003. In 2008, he was named chief scientific officer. Following the company’s merger with the Roche Group in 2009, Dr. Scheller was promoted to executive vice president and head of Genentech research and early development, and joined the Roche enlarged corporate executive committee.

Dr. Scheller served as chairman of the Genentech Foundation’s board of directors.

Dr. Scheller received his bachelor of science in biochemistry in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his doctorate in chemistry in 1980 from the California Institute of Technology. After postdoctoral research fellowships at Caltech and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Scheller was hired as an assistant professor at Stanford University in 1982. In 1993, he was named a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and biological sciences, and in 1994 as an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University Medical Center. He has been an adjunct professor at UC San Francisco since 2004.

Dr. Scheller's research elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing neurotransmitter release earned him the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the 2010 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, and the 1997 US National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, among other honors. In 2014, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has served on numerous advisory boards, including the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institutes of Health. In 2014, he was named a trustee of Caltech.

PROFESSIONALS

Carla Daniel

Recruiting Manager

Ms. Daniel joined The Column Group in 2015 and assists the firm’s portfolio companies in recruiting their scientific teams.  After completing her Master's Degree in Biology at UC Santa Cruz, Ms. Daniel joined the Immunology group at Tularik. She later became a Human Resources Manager and helped to build Tularik’s scientific team. After Tularik she worked for larger biotechnology companies like Genentech and a life science focused Executive Search Firm.

James Evangelista

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Evangelista joined The Column Group in 2012. Mr. Evangelista has over a decade of venture capital industry experience. Most recently, he was the Controller for Three Arch Partners, and prior to that, a Financial Analyst with Lightspeed Venture Partners. He began his career working for several large money management firms including Fisher Investments and Barclays Global Investors.

Mr. Evangelista is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of California and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the California Society of CPAs.

JJ Kang, PhD

Associate

Dr. Kang joined The Column Group in 2015. Previously, Dr. Kang worked at FibroGen in the project management of drug discovery and development programs, and prior to that, in corporate strategy.  Prior to FibroGen, Dr. Kang investigated inhibition of DNA methylation and chemical induction of immunogenicity in cancer cells in the laboratory of Professor Peter Dervan, completing her PhD at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Kang was previously educated at Harvard University.

Susan Murakami

Operations Manager

Ms. Murakami joined The Column Group in 2008.  She has worked in the financial industry for over thirty years with the last fifteen years focused in venture capital.  Most recently, she managed the state-side office of a Chinese venture capital firm in San Francisco and prior to that was Controller at a consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Ms. Murakami earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii.


Adriana Tajonar, PhD

Associate

Dr. Tajonar joined The Column Group in 2015. Previously, Dr. Tajonar was an Entrepreneurship Program Manager at QB3 (California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences), where she helped over 200 teams of scientists from top institutions in California start companies in the life sciences.  Prior to QB3, she studied mechanisms of self-renewal and survival in human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory of Professor Douglas Melton, completing her PhD at Harvard University in 2012. Previously, Dr. Tajonar did research in the lab of Professor Rudolf Jaenisch as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Karina Tin

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Tin joined The Column Group in 2015.  Ms. Tin assists in the facilitation and execution of administrative responsibilities throughout the firm and provides day-to-day staff support in company operations.  Most recently, she was a Records Analyst with PG&E, and prior to that, Office Manager for a real estate firm. Ms. Tin graduated from San Francisco State University with a BS in International Business.

Our Portfolio

Denotes exited Investment
  • All
  • FLX Bio

    FLX Bio is a biotechnology company focused on the creation, development and commercialization of novel anti-cancer therapeutics. Toward this end, the company is leveraging unexploited insights in immunology to discover novel agents that combat cancer by reversing tumor immunosuppression. This disruptive approach to cancer therapy targets that which is common to all tumors, the host immune system.

  • Neurona Therapeutics

    Neurona is a cell therapy company focused on the discovery and development of disease-altering treatments for intractable neuropsychiatric disorders. The company seeks to become an industry leader in the neural stem cell field with multiple therapeutic product candidates.Neurona is a cell therapy company focused on the discovery and development of disease-altering treatments for intractable neuropsychiatric disorders. The company seeks to become an industry leader in the neural stem cell field with multiple therapeutic product candidates.

  • ORIC Pharmaceuticals

    ORIC is a small molecule oncology company focused on combating the growing resistance problem to current molecularly targeted drugs.ORIC is a small molecule oncology company focused on combating the growing resistance problem to current molecularly targeted drugs.

  • eFFECTOR Therapeutics

    eFFECTOR is pioneering a new class of small molecule drugs that act by selectively regulating translation, also known as protein synthesis.  The company unites breakthrough insights into the mechanisms of translational control with a proven approach to product invention.eFFECTOR is pioneering a new class of small molecule drugs that act by selectively regulating translation, also known as protein synthesis. The company unites breakthrough insights into the mechanisms of translational control with a proven approach to product invention.

  • Carmot

    Carmot Therapeutics is a biotech company focused on the discovery of innovative drugs for the treatment of metabolic diseases, cancer, and inflammation. Carmot’s vision is to become a leader in drug discovery by unlocking novel therapeutic target space not currently accessible to conventional small molecule technologies.

  • Constellation Pharmaceuticals

    Constellation is the first biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics in the emerging field of Epigenetics, a new field of science involving selective regulators that are critical to controlling gene expression.Constellation is the first biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics in the emerging field of Epigenetics, a new field of science involving selective regulators that are critical to controlling gene expression.

  • Igenica Biotherapeutics

    Igenica is dedicated to the discovery and development of breakthrough antibodies and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer.Igenica is dedicated to the discovery and development of breakthrough antibodies and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer.

  • Immune Design

    Immune Design is an immunotherapy oncology company focused on engineering technologies to activate the immune system’s natural ability to fight disease.

    IMDZ Price

    Immune Design is a new generation vaccine company built on emerging understanding of the role of dendritic cells in determining an effective immune response.

  • NGM Biopharmaceuticals

    NGM uses a combination of novel experimental approaches to elucidate the role of hormones and receptors in the systemic regulation of cardiometabolic diseases.NGM uses a combination of novel experimental approaches to elucidate the role of hormones and receptors in the systemic regulation of cardiometabolic diseases.

  • Nurix

    Nurix is focused on discovering and developing therapies that modulate the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) for the treatment of a broad range of human disorders, most notably cancer.Nurix is focused on discovering and developing therapies that modulate the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) for the treatment of a broad range of human disorders, most notably cancer.

  • Peloton Therapeutics

    Peloton Therapeutics is advancing a first-in-class discovery and development pipeline in oncology, comprising several well-differentiated small-molecule programs.Peloton Therapeutics is advancing a first-in-class discovery and development pipeline in oncology, comprising several well-differentiated small-molecule programs.

  • Aragon Pharmaceuticals

    Aragon is creating a new class of nuclear receptor targeting drugs that overcome the biology of hormone resistant cancers. Aragon was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in August 2013 for $650M in cash up front and $350M in contingent development milestone payments.Aragon is creating a new class of nuclear receptor targeting drugs that overcome the biology of hormone resistant cancers. Aragon was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in August 2013 for $650M in cash up front and $350M in contingent development milestone payments.

  • Flexus Biosciences

    Flexus was founded with the mission to create new cancer therapeutics through the innovative application of unexploited insights in immunology. Flexus Biosciences was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in April 2015 for $800M in cash up front and $450M in contingent development milestone payments.Flexus was founded with the mission to create new cancer therapeutics through the innovative application of unexploited insights in immunology. Flexus Biosciences was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in April 2015 for $800M in cash up front and $450M in contingent development milestone payments.

  • Seragon Pharmaceuticals

    Seragon is focused on developing new treatments for estrogen-driven cancers based on its Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD) platform. Seragon was acquired by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in August 2014 for $725M in cash up front and $1.0B in contingent development milestone payments.Seragon is focused on developing new treatments for estrogen-driven cancers based on its Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD) platform. Seragon was acquired by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in August 2014 for $725M in cash up front and $1.0B in contingent development milestone payments.

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Contact TCG

The Column Group
1700 Owens Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94158
Email : info@thecolumngroup.com
T: (415) 865-2050
F: (415) 255-2048