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Note from Mary Wheeler


Investing in teams developing innovative therapeutics (Rx) that treat serious disease and platforms that enable those treatments; mostly Seed and Series A. Medicines on a realistic path to commercialization (not science experiments)

Single regulated therapeutic products can bring in billions in revenue but also cost over $2B and can take decades to bring from idea stage to market. There is a high level of early stage risk and failure. About half of the total drug development costs (if you count the failed attempts) happen before a potential drug even reaches clinical testing in people. Sometimes, promising therapeutics can not be tested further because of a lack of funding or because the wrong product development choices were made due to lack of expertise or both.

This is often referred to as "the Valley of Death" in biotech.

Angel investors like those of us on AngelList can help bridge this gap and bring meaningful treatments forward.

EXPERIENCE and training

I have over 15 years of experience judging the business case for therapeutics companies and products in a deal and investing context. I've assessed thousands of opportunities across the development stage spectrum from simply an idea or early discovery science, clinical stage assets, to companies with drugs on the market selling for billions in annual revenue, across all therapeutic areas in a position of both buyer and seller. I understand what drives big companies to acquire little ones or to partner with them for non-dilutive cash. I have the network in big companies and within venture capital and in small lesser known or non-traditional communities and the open-mindedness to identify diamonds in the rough.

I'm very much in the flow of what are the major impactful developments in Rx treatment and then what are the secondary and tertiary interesting trends in therapeutic medical innovation that may be currently neglected by traditional funding but open for angel investment. I've worked in the Boston ecosystem, the NYC ecosystem and the Silicon Valley ecosystem as well as with companies all over the world.


PhD from Princeton, MBA from MITSloan, Yale undergrad. Kauffman Fellow (network of venture capitalists and those who foster and fund the innovation ecosystem)

So often in my work or as I mentor early stage startup teams I see compelling potential treatments or platforms that are missing 1 or 2 milestone achievements that would make them attractive to traditional funding sources. Or alternatively the team does not want to follow that path and prefers to raise via angels and non-dilutive partner deals. I'm pleased to be in a position to fund and foster these teams and to invite you to join me.

CRITERIA for my angel RxCo investments

Investment opportunities should have substantive non-dilutive funding potential and/or near term exit potential to generate attractive returns for angel investors.

Product: (FDA) regulated therapeutic that treats a high unmet need human disease or platforms that are part of or enable those therapeutics

Investment returns: 15+ years leading M&A and licensing deals in biotech enables me to source, judge, select and also advise my portfolio companies for maximum exits. I have experience assessing the scientific, clinical, regulatory, CMC and business prospects of drugs and companies across all therapeutic areas and stages.

Team: I have met the management team and see them as diverse (skills, backgrounds, perspectives, all senses of the word) and deeply qualified (relevant experience and capacity for the science and business of the venture).

{Life Saving Breakthroughs: A small number of deals may be compelling as Impact Investments-- Certain biotech companies are incredibly compelling because of the patient population or breakthrough innovation. But some of these may require longer time to returns and/or substantial future rounds to reach exit or may pose an extra 'black box' risk until certain milestones are hit. I label these opportunities IMPACT for my angel backers.

Impact investments need to have identified clear sources of future funding once and if they hit milestones to increase the product's probability of continuing on to successfully reach patients.}


After a relative slow down in breakthrough innovation last decade, there has been an inspiring burst of breakthroughs in drug therapy that continues today, such as those in immune oncology (cancer treatments that leverage our own immune system to attack). This wave has translated through to biotech company valuations and to a renewed open-ness to starting and funding earlier stage innovative companies. There are lots of evolving fields to be excited about including therapeutics that leverage the micro-biome, gene therapy and gene editing and of course those more well known outside biotech circles such as genetics, big data and deep learning as applied to enhance and speed up drug discovery.

FAQ (send me questions and I'll post answers here for everyone)

A) Good sources to understand the drug development steps, costs and probability of success at each stage: (or suggest your favorites!)

* http://phrma-docs.phrma.org/sites/default/files/pd...

* https://www.fda.gov/forpatients/approvals/drugs/

* Link is: http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v9/n3/full/nrd30

* Also TUFTS CSDD http://csdd.tufts.edu/news/complete_story/pr_tufts...

B) Good Biotech Blogs and news sources

* VC Partner Bruce Booth's blog has lots of well informed opinions on funding and fostering biotech drug companies: https://lifescivc.com/

* https://twitter.com/AndyBiotech (on public biotech news) I actually don't know who this is...anyone know?


1. Someone asked me about CRISPR. Here is an overview of its use and impact as well as that of older similar approaches: https://content.labmate.us/genome-editing-past-pre... Also there is good information on the web site of a public company Editas here:



All deals in this category will be syndicated.

Mary Wheeler
Biotech Investor. 20yrs operating experience in therapeutics deals; startup Chief Business Officer; First $ into NewCos; Yale, Princeton PhD, MITSloan MBA
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M. Jaione Maiz, PhD
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PhD in Neurobiology. Kauffman Fellow.
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