- Vortrag im Rahmen der Verleihung des Zukunftspreises Kommunikation 2014 am 10.11.2014
Dr. med. habil Axel Polack
Mediziner, Virologe, Investment-Manager für Wagniskapital im Bereich "Life Science"
PD Dr. Axel Polack, studierte Medizin an der Albert-Ludwig-University (Freiburg) und habilitierte sich im Fach Virologie an der Ludwig-Maximilians-University, München. Danach leitete er eine „Technologie Transfer Gesellschaft“ (heute Ascenion GmbH). Im Jahr 2000 trat Dr. Polack in das Investment Team des transatlantisch aufgestellten Wagniskapitalgeber, TVM Capital, ein. Er war maßgeblich an der Entscheidung von mehr als 40 Investitionen der TVM im Bereich lebenswissenschaftlicher Hochtechnologien (Medikamententwicklungen, Medizintechnik und Basisinnovationen) beteiligt und vertrat die TVM Interessen in mehr als fünf Aufsichtsräten. Heute ist Dr. Polack mit TVM Capital als „Venture Partner“ verbunden. Weiterhin berät er kapitalsuchende Unternehmen und Organisationen, die mit Firmenneugründungen zum Zweck des Technologietransfers befasst sind.
Impressive investment track record in Life Science. Highly competent in sourcing and monitoring new investments in the field of Biotechnology (BioTech) and Medical Devices (MedTech). Member of supervisory boards of five TVM portfolio companies. Since 2000 key member of the Life Science team at TVM Capital, which raised more than 680m€ in venture capital and accomplished 67 investments, 18 IPOs (“initial public offerings”) and 15 trade sales.
Instrumental role in investing/divesting of Sirna Inc.; acquired by Merck for 1.1b$ (exit multiple of 3.4)
Led turnaround of nearly bankrupt gene therapy company, transforming it into the high-flying bluebird bio Inc. and attracting 101m$ from international investors through an IPO at NASDAQ in June 2013
Dynamic three-phase career path with notable achievements in venture capital (General Partner), business management (General Manager) and molecular biology research (Deputy Chairman of research institute).
Scientific training in molecular and translational medicine, broad experience in the drug development process and strategic & operational management of (start-up) businesses.
TVM Capital GmbH, Munich 2000 – Present
TVM Capital is one of the oldest and most respected venture capital companies in Germany with an investment focus in the EU, US (east coast) and Canada. 116 investments over 25 years across several major business and capital market cycles. 80 were exited with an overall combined synthetic gross IRR of 24% p.a., and a net IRR of 20% p.a. and a 2.0x multiple. The current unrealized active investment portfolio comprises more than 30 companies.
General Partner (since 2006), Venture Partner, Principal, Senior Associate
Deal Leader: Sourcing and Monitoring (Board Member) of the following TVM Capital portfolio companies
NOXXON Pharma (http://www.noxxon.com), a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a new class of proprietary therapeutics called Spiegelmers.
Assembled syndicate of international investors investing over 35m€ in the company’s restart in 2007. In 2010 the company attracted 34m€. NOXXON currently has three different programs in phase II clinical trials.
bluebird bio (previously Genetix, http://www.bluebirdbio.com) develops innovative gene therapies for severe genetic disorders.
Led the initial sourcing of the Genetix deal in 2004, playing an active role in the company since that time and as Board Member from 2007 to January 2014. Since 2007 bluebird-bio has undergone numerous private financings involving several US and EU based blue-chip investors, raising in total more than 100m$ followed by a very successful IPO in June 2013. The company has two gene therapy products in clinical development which captured the interest of many in the investor and medical community based on spectacular results presented in the ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’ journals.
Invendo (http://www.invendo-medical.com), a medical technology company specialized in developing and distributing disposable, highly flexible and easy-to-use endoscopy products for the field of gastroenterology.
Board Member since 2008. Co-led several rounds of financing (36m€ in total). Invendo has meanwhile secured FDA approval of its disposable colonoscope and is preparing for a market entry in the US. In early 2014 Invendo secured one of the largest financings of a Medtech company in Germany with almost 21M€.
f-Star (http://www.f-star.com), a leading antibody technology company with a proprietary approach to the generation of bi-specific antibodies.
Active since 2009 as part of a growing international venture capital syndicate involving several corporate venture capital companies (Merck-Serono, SR one (GSK), and Mitsubishi Pharma). Engaged in major alliances with Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck Serono.
Probiodrug (http://www.probiodrug.de), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative small molecule drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (“Alzheimer disease”).
Merger between TVM’s portfolio company Ingenium and Probiodrug. Assumed Board member role in 2009. The company has two compounds in Phase I.
Deal Team Member (non-leading)
Source deals, including set-up and monitoring of investments, e.g. Ardana, Argos (successful IPO at Nasdaq in Q1 2014), Biovertis, BioXell, Cerenis, Elbion, Ingenium and bluebird-bio (Genetix)
Play integral role in due diligence teams involved in TVM’s PIPE investments (private investments in public equity), e.g. in Medigene, GPC and Sirna Therapeutics
Explore new investment targets and review the daily deal flow and scientific literature
Lead special projects, such as the evaluation of entire scientific fields as potential sources for new investments (e.g. siRNA, cancer immunotherapy, gene therapy and protein scaffolds), enabling investments in Genetix, Sirna Therapeutics, Noxxon and f-Star
Innovative Technologies Neuherberg GmbH (ITN), Munich 1997 – 2000
ITN - now known as Ascenion (http://www.ascenion.de) - is an independent TTO (Technology Transfer Organization) created by GSF- Research Center for Environment and Health, today Helmholtz Zentrum Munich. ITN is specialized in facilitating technology transfer from research centers to spin off companies or the industry. ITN in-/out licenses the technologies and utilizes all modern elements of technology transfer, e.g. upfront payments, royalties and equity.
General Manager (parallel role)
Established the independent commercial GmbH, masterminding a complex and sustainable legal solution to create this public private partnership
Structured and negotiated deals with founders, financial institutions and industry partners, resulting in the creation of the following prospering companies: Biomax, Genomatix, Inamed (now Activaero), Ingenium (now Probiodrug) and Trion Pharma
Restructured ITN to create a platform accessible for other members of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (HGF) active in the life sciences; set up a foundation (LifeScience-Stiftung) which today acts as the sole shareholder of Ascenion
Today Ascenion – one of the few very successful technology transfer companies in Germany – represents not only the HGF Centers but also the entire Leibniz Association and the University of Hanover Medical School.
GSF – Research Center for Environment and Health, Munich 1997 – 2000
Executive Department of Science & Technology
Executive Advisor Unit providing strategic and operational advice to the Managing Director Science of the
Played lead role in forging and managing research partnerships between GSF and university clinics; created and negotiated contractual backbone to secure the IP and commercial value
Directed the scientific “controlling” and comprehensive reporting of biomedical projects
Co-responsible for developing strategic projects and for a large scale funding scheme, as well as for integrating several HGF centers
GSF – Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Munich 1989 – 1997
Deputy Chairman and Research Group Leader 1990 – 1996
Formed and led a research group
Developed strategies and structures in close collaboration with the Chairman; promoted the expansion of operations, growing from 10 FTEs to 70
Interfaced with a wide range of public & private players as representative of the institute
Obtained substantial grant money from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Guided the interaction between clinical projects and the pharmaceutical industry
Conducted research, published over 50 articles and lectured on molecular mechanisms of malignant transformation; escape of the cancer cell from immune surveillance; and gene therapy
Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg 1984 – 1988
Institute for Virology, Center for Hygiene
Heavily involved in the institute’s three focus areas: (i) clinical virology, i.e. diagnostics and consulting of clinical physicians in virological questions, (ii) teaching and (iii) basic research
Managed several clinical diagnostic units, including HIV and EBV, as well as the assessment and reporting of all laboratory results towards the clinicians
Spearheaded research activities in the “hot fields” of virus associated cancers and oncogene activation; attracted substantial grant money for own research unit
SELECTED Publications (from high impact journals)
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 2;99(7):4550-5. Epub 2002 Mar 26. MYC overexpression imposes a nonimmunogenic phenotype on Epstein-Barr virus-infected B cells.Staege MS, Lee SP, Frisan T, Mautner J, Scholz S, Pajic A, Rickinson AB, Masucci MG, Polack A, Bornkamm GW.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Sep 17;93(19):10411-6. c-myc activation renders proliferation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed cells independent of EBV nuclear antigen 2 and latent membrane protein 1.Polack A, Hörtnagel K, Pajic A, Christoph B, Baier B, Falk M, Mautner J, Geltinger C, Bornkamm GW, Kempkes B.
EMBO J. 1993 Oct;12(10):3913-20. Regulatory elements in the immunoglobulin kappa locus induce c-myc activation and the promoter shift in Burkitt's lymphoma cells. Polack A, Feederle R, Klobeck G, Hörtnagel K.
EMBO J. 1987 Oct;6(10):2959-64. Truncation does not abrogate transcriptional downregulation of the c-myc gene by sodium butyrate in Burkitt's lymphoma cells. Polack A, Eick D, Koch E, Bornkamm GW.
Honor: Recipient of the Goedecke Prize (Pfizer Prize) for outstanding research in medicine (1984)
Languages: German (native), English (fluent), Latin
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