Newpath Partners kicks off $350M fund with a wunderkind holding the bag and an all-star scientific team waiting in the wings
The world of biotech isn’t short on big personalities, but it’s not exactly common to see young professionals earning the broad respect of seasoned academics. Yet, Tom Cahill and his team at Newpath have snagged the support of some of biotech’s biggest names in just a few short years in existence.
How did Cahill do it? He thinks big.
Newpath Partners kicked off its second venture fund Wednesday, dubbed Newpath Fund II, with $350 million to support research from some of the best and brightest researchers and serial biotech entrepreneurs waiting in the wings.
Under Cahill’s leadership, Newpath has planted its flags in some of the biggest biotech launches in the past year, including the $315 million launch of Prime Medicines in July, the $500 million launch of Neumora Therapeutics and a $125 million launch for Chroma Medicine last month.
Cahill, a Duke graduate with only a few years in venture capital, has punched above his weight in assembling a who’s who list of academic partners, including (but certainly not limited to) bestselling author and Columbia researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee, the Broad Institute’s gene editing guru David Liu and legendary Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher Ron Vale.
One of those frequent collaborators is Stuart Schreiber, the famed co-founder of the Broad, who has worked with Cahill’s team launching Kojin Therapeutics in July and building the stealth biotech Kisbee Therapeutics. Getting backed by Schreiber, whose long shadow Cahill allegorized to Endpoints News as the “Genghis Khan of biotech” (he meant that in a nice way), is no minor achievement.
But Schreiber said Cahill’s precocious talent in identifying the next scientific breakthrough and his earnest mission to make the world a better place has earned the trust of otherwise jaded researchers who have been in and around the game for years.
“Tom Cahill is a force of nature and a singularity in many ways,” he said. “This is a guy who is all about values, and he’s very interested in disruptive ideas that are the right ideas. He has a voracious appetite for things that if successful will change the world.”
Indeed, Cahill is many things — and simple isn’t one of them. On our call, Cahill described the evolution of biotech as part of a great scientific progression dating back to the Renaissance. Where Newpath figures into that expansive history, Cahill says, is empowering the most forward-thinking researchers to pursue the biggest possible ideas, regardless of technical challenges or a precedent of failure.
In short, he said: “We’re not here that long so let’s do some cool work.”
That drive to help the best science have the best possible chance at success means Cahill has been more than happy to collaborate with other venture partners on driving promising companies through stealth and beyond. In two of the three examples cited above, Cahill’s team worked closely with Bob Nelsen’s outfit at Arch Venture — a frequent collaborator — which Cahill described as like-minded in terms of driving the next generation of biotech. Nelsen himself is known as a personality in the world of biotech, and his work both at Arch and disruptive manufacturing outfit Resilience has caught more than a few eyes throughout the years.
With $350 million to play with, Cahill said the plan is to seed or finance five more startups outside of the four that are currently in the works, including his team’s work with Schreiber on Kisbee. In terms of what those companies are working on? We’ll have to wait and see.
But Cahill did offer a bit of insight into what areas interest him, including neuropsychology, which he called the disease areas of the next 10 years, and delivery tech. If you’ve been following along with biotech the past couple years, you will have noticed that neuroscience has seen a resurgence among drug developers as long sought-after drug targets have suddenly shown promise with the rise of new therapeutic modalities.
So where will Cahill go next? Stay tuned to find out.