Brian Atwood is a Managing Director specializing in biotechnology investing at Versant. Previous to co-founding Versant Ventures, he spent four years at Brentwood Venture Capital where, as a general partner, he led investments in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and bioinformatics. He also has more than 15 years of operating experience in the biotechnology industry, with an emphasis on therapeutic products, devices, diagnostics, and research instrumentation.
Prior to launching his career in venture capital, Brian was founder, president and CEO of Glycomed, a publicly traded biotechnology company. At Glycomed, Brian concentrated on business development and strategic alliances, closing deals with Eli Lilly & Company, Millipore, Genentech and Sankyo, before leading the sale of Glycomed to Ligand Pharmaceuticals. Before Glycomed, he co-founded and served as director of Perkin Elmer/Cetus Instruments, a joint venture for robotics automation and genomics research instruments and products later acquired by Perkin Elmer. Under Brian’s management, the venture developed and launched the GeneAmp® Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) system – the fundamental DNA amplification innovation responsible for fueling the explosive growth of genomics research.
Brian’s years evaluating biotech deals as a VC and working as an entrepreneurial CEO have given him insight into both roles in the venture capital ecosystem. The net result has been a better understanding of how they work in concert with each other. In his experience, success happens when the entrepreneur and management teams steer the car, and the VC does their best to be a good backseat driver.