Venture Philanthropy Panel
RESI aims to represent a diversity of investment sources for early stage life science companies, beyond traditional venture capital firms and other investors with short-term horizons and, primarily financial aims.
The unique outlook of venture philanthropy investors means that each fund has created a distinct strategy for moving new inventions towards patients. They typically have deep domain expertise at their disposal, and many focus on assets at an earlier stage than typical VCs, with the aim of helping new treatments cross over biotech’s infamous ‘Valley of Death’. In this panel, these investors will explain their unique strategies and expertise, and entrepreneurs can learn how to find and work with a venture philanthropy investor in their domain.
Bill Werkmeister, Partner, ICIF Fund – National Foundation for Cancer Research
Bill is a Founding Partner of the International Cancer Impact Fund, and in charge of the fund operations, organization, and capital raising efforts. He is a serial social venture capitalist and social entrepreneur. In addition to ICIF, Bill manages a private-holding company of social ventures which he founded in cleantech, media, and healthcare, and runs private equity for the ARCHNOVA family office.
Bill started his career as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney and Citigroup Global Markets, where he worked in corporate investment banking and structured finance. While at Salomon and CITI, Bill worked on over 14 structured transactions totaling $7.0 billion for Fortune 500 clients, as well as several marquee M&A transactions. Bill was then recruited by Newtek (NASDAQ: NEWT), one of the first publicly-traded venture funds, where he was Vice-President of Fund Capital Raising and Head of Securitization, Trading, and the Treasury at its SBA-lender, one of the largest non-bank SBA lenders in the country.
Following Newtek, Bill became interested in social venture capital and entrepreneurship, and at the age of 26, co-founded Aegis Capital Group’s series of state-subsidized venture funds, which focused on investing in high-technology life science, TMT, and consumer startups in Texas and New York. In 2012, he co-founded one of the first, and largest, mobile breast screening businesses, raising $24 million in startup equity capital. From 2014-2017, Bill worked as a banker and advisor to help several promising social enterprises in life sciences and cleantech raise funding.
Bill currently or has previously served on the Board or Advisory Board of the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the AIM-HI Cancer Fund, Immunicom, NexGen, VerdeEn, The Children’s Aid Society, and Houston Achievement Place. Bill has been published in or appeared on: Fox News, Fox Business, The Huffington Post, The Harvard Kennedy Review, Bold, among others. Mr. Werkmeister holds a B.S. summa cum laude from Cornell University where he studied finance and bioengineering, an MPA from Harvard University with a focus on Economic Policy, and an MBA from Yale University. He also completed graduate studies at the London School of Economics and participated in the Program in Structured Finance at NYU.
Michael Batten, Director, JDRF T1D Fund
Michael Batten, M.D., M.B.A., is a director for JDRF T1D Fund where he facilitates venture creation and syndicated venture investments focused on translating innovative Type 1 Diabetes research into lifesaving therapies for T1D patients.
Previously, Dr. Batten invested in healthcare companies as a portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch and a member of the investment team of the Caxton Health Holdings. Prior to his investing roles, Michael was a member of Pfizer’s Business Development group where he led multiple transactions and was instrumental in the creation of Pfizer Venture Investments, the strategic venture capital arm of Pfizer.
Dr. Batten received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from N.C. State University, M.D. from U.N.C. – Chapel Hill, trained in Ophthalmology at NYU, and M.B.A. from Wharton.
Kenneth LaMontagne, Vice President of Research , The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Ken is an experienced leader with broad knowledge of the healthcare industry. Expertise in Oncology, Immuno-Oncology and Cell & Gene Therapies (CGT): includes research and development, clinical and commercial responsibilities. Ken has had roles including Oncology translational science, diagnostics, new products and business development and licensing (BD&L). Ken received his Ph.D. from SUNY at Stony Brook, while his PhD dissertation was done at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Ken was a post-doctoral fellow (former Career Development Award recipient from the Leukemia Society of America) in the lab of the late Dr. Judah Folkman, Harvard Medical School. Upon completion of his training, Ken ventured into the Pharmaceutical sector with increasing roles at both Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. Ken recently completed an MBA from the Executive program at Rutgers Business School. Ken is now Head of the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP) at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.