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Jeff Aronin’s startup incubator scoops ex-Alkermes exec Jim Robinson for new president/COO role

After a stint at Alkermes $ALKS that took him to Boston area for a little over a year, Jim Robinson is moving home.

Reporting at Paragon Biosciences’ Chicago office today, Robinson will keep the same title: president and chief operating officer. But instead of overseeing one entity, he will run a host of functional services to support Paragon’s six and counting portfolio companies.

Jim Robinson

Serving on Paragon’s advisory board for the past two years has given him “a bird’s eye view” not only on its mission and business model, but also the team that chairman and CEO Jeff Aronin has assembled. Over the last 18 months, they have pooled close to $500 million in investment for the biotech startups they launched, got up and running, then set sail as independently run operations.

The uniting feature among this diverse group, Robinson adds, is a focus on artificial intelligence enabled life science products and advanced treatments for severe conditions, such as Castle Creek Pharma’s gene therapy for butterfly skin disease.

For Robinson, there’s no better place to coordinate the delivery of “innovation capital” than Chicago, where he spent most of his personal and professional life, while working for Schering Plough and Astellas.

“I’m a big believer that Chicago is a hub and the greater Midwest area is a hub for not only innovation but also for the life sciences, whether you’re looking at pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical or if you’re looking at medical devices,” he says.

Jeff Aronin

While none of Paragon’s portfolio companies are quite near commercial stage, given Aronin’s controversial past at Marathon, I asked Robinson about Paragon’s overarching philosophy on pricing. And Robinson, who was cautious about commenting on Paragon’s business model, had an answer ready.

These companies, he says, have “their own CEO, their own executive leadership team, and their decisions on pricing are left out to the company itself and not driven by Paragon.”


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