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Polaris Venture Partners Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

The philosophy of Polaris Venture Partners can be summed up simply: diversity is good. That's why about a third of the investments Polaris has made from the $80 million fund raised at its founding in 1996 is in the life sciences; two-thirds are in information technology.

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Profiles of Two Iconoclasts

In recent years, most venture capital firms have focused on investing in companies with well-developed product pipelines. In this issue of START-UP, we profile two trendsetters: Fred Cohen, managing director at Texas Pacific Group Ventures; and Christoph Westphal, formerly a partner at Polaris Ventures and now vice chairman and CEO of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. Both men are physician scientists turned investors, who have tapped into their scientific and clinical knowledge to make investments in "high concept" discovery stage companies. And although the investments are intriguing, it's too early to say whether or not the strategies adopted by these two men will yield returns for their backers.

Profiles of Two Iconoclasts

In recent years, most venture capital firms have focused on investing in companies with well-developed product pipelines. In this issue of START-UP, we profile two trendsetters: Fred Cohen, managing director at Texas Pacific Group Ventures; and Christoph Westphal, formerly a partner at Polaris Ventures and now vice chairman and CEO of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. Both men are physician scientists turned investors, who have tapped into their scientific and clinical knowledge to make investments in "high concept" discovery stage companies. And although the investments are intriguing, it's too early to say whether or not the strategies adopted by these two men will yield returns for their backers.

Earlybird Venture Capital LLC

Earlybird hopes to capitalize on the convergence of information technologies with health care. It sees these two sectors not as separate strands with fundamentally different investment strategies, but rather as areas whose increasing overlap presents a new pool of companies needing support with experience in both businesses, and, the contend, bi-continental reach.

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