In the biotech startup world, GV (the venture group still usually referred to by its original name, Google Ventures) is the ideal investor. They bring legendary connections, seemingly endless cash resources and the kind of tech endorsement that can leave you smiling in your sleep. And now the champion of life sciences investing at GV, Bill Maris, is stepping away from the helm after founding it 8 years ago.
Maris, a neuroscientist by training, helped steer Google’s influential cash and attention to such companies as Editas and Foundation Medicine. Last February, GV jumped into a $75 million round for Forty Seven, a Stanford spinout from the lab of Irv Weissman. The group took a big stake in Flatiron Health’s Big Data effort and added cash to Oxford Sciences Innovation’s fund in the UK.
Biotech stayed a central feature in GV’s portfolio because of Maris’s belief that an explosion of genomics work combined with the accumulation of a mountain of patient data could transform medicine, and they could help drive that shift.
Here’s what a departing Maris told Recode about biotech as he prepped for a departure:
I’m really passionate about the life sciences work that we’ve done. I love that team and they’re incredibly talented. They’re doing things that affect patients at the end of the day. That’s where I spent a lot of my time lately.
Maris’s immediate plan is to spend more time with the family. (No, seriously.) But he’s not retiring.
I’m a creative person. I need quiet and some solitude and some time. And I think a month or two will help me incubate some ideas.
David Krane is stepping up to the top job. Let’s hope he doesn’t neglect those biotech roots at GV.
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