At GV, we often talk about the power of long-term relationships and the importance of building broad, deep networks. We operate in a team environment, share common values, and have a genuine mission to put people and patients first. That's why I'm especially excited to announce healthcare and finance industry veteran Cathy Friedman as our newest Executive Venture Partner.
Cathy is not only a phenomenal human who has known members of our team for 30 years; she's also a world-class business executive with nearly 40 years of experience across banking, technology, and life sciences. Cathy comes to GV as an independent financial consultant and board member. Previously, she was a managing director and co-head of the biotech practice at Morgan Stanley, where she spent nearly 24 years.
What's notable about Cathy's rich background in biotech and healthcare is that she has an unequaled view into what it takes to create companies that have real impact. Cathy has served on the boards of leading public and private life sciences and technology companies including most recently board chair of GV portfolio company Grail (acquired by Illumina). She has been an independent director at Vividion Therapeutics (acquired by Bayer), GV portfolio company Lyell Immunopharma, Seer, Altaba (formerly Yahoo!), Radius Health, and Revolution Healthcare Acquisition Corp.
Amid her many activities, she got a call one day. As she put it, "I've spent the past 15 years helping CEOs and boards of companies, and it's been a really exciting time. Then I got a phone call from my friend [GV Executive Venture Partner] Dan Lynch. The conversation quickly turned from how we can work on a few things together to 'maybe you can come join the band.'"
"There's no better time than now. Whether you're a young scientist or on the business or clinical side, it's a great time for a career in life sciences."
As Executive Venture Partner, Cathy is a senior member of the investing team and plans to advise our life sciences portfolio alongside Dan Lynch, who joined us in April. Combined, our Executive Venture Partners have served as board members or board chairs of more than 20 companies since 2011. They bring their expertise and track record of building and advising distinguished companies to GV's burgeoning portfolio.
GV's comprehensive remit is one of the things I've loved since joining the team several years ago as the life sciences co-lead. We invest across all modalities and all private market stages. The portfolio includes everything from platform companies like Prime and Beam to companies built on single assets with transformative potential to payer/provider and digital health. Part of how we make this broad mandate successful is by pairing our portfolio founders and executives with exceptional people who have truly seen it all, and can partner with them during the inevitable ups and downs of building transformational companies that can improve patient outcomes.
This past year alone, GV welcomed more than 20 primarily early-stage healthcare companies to the portfolio, and our team has deployed nearly $1B to transformative life sciences companies since the start of 2020. Many investments, like Rome and Verve, start at the incubation stage, and Cathy's seasoned expertise in helping our companies right out of the gate is unmatched.
"The role involves mentoring and advising and operating company management," Dan explains. "We did it as board members, and the role is similar in that we're looking for how to make these companies and senior leaders at our company successful."
Given her unprecedented vantage point as a 40-year industry veteran, having been involved in SPACs, high profile M&A, and just about everything in between, I asked Cathy for her views on where the biotech industry is today.
"Investing in life sciences companies is a long-term game," says Cathy. "Having a long-term strategy is the most important thing in today's environment. The way we're structured as one big team with one LP, we can invest for the long term — and in healthcare, that's absolutely imperative." As for the state of the healthcare industry, Cathy says "I'm very bullish. There's no better time than now. Whether you're a young scientist or on the business or clinical side, it's a great time for a career in life sciences."
The computational and medical advancements made over the past few years are astounding, and our entire team shares Cathy's sentiment. Science is breaking open to benefit patients, and the world is waking up to the reality that humankind's continued progress depends on advancements in health and life sciences. To that end, on behalf of our team, there is no better time to welcome Cathy Friedman to GV!