28 August 2018Big Pharma

LSIPR 50 2018: Frank Kalkbrenner

Name: Frank Kalkbrenner

Organisation: Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund

Position: Managing Director

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) has more than doubled its venture capital fund, increasing the depth of its pockets from 100 million to 250 million ($300 million) as part of its expansion strategy. Frank Kalkbrenner’s company is broadening its portfolio to include regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and digital health, as well as enhancing its presence beyond Europe by opening a second US-based office in 2018.

As part of BIVF’s expansion Kalkbrenner intends to collaborate closely with biotech and startup companies on the West Coast, elevating the fund’s positioning at the centre of the global digital health transformation. BIVF typically works to create companies from academia and develops projects over a period of five to seven years, with initial investments in seed or series A funding.

BIVF, which previously focused mainly on cancer and biotechs in Europe, will be using its additional funds to invest in early stage start-up companies including those focusing on immune oncology. The investment firm’s portfolio currently includes German cancer immunotherapy player Rigontec, as well as Austrian biotech firm ViraTherapeutics, which is developing a new class of immunotherapy drugs based on ViraTherapeutics’ patented cancer-destroying virus.

Before moving into investment Kalkbrenner spent more than a decade in academic research after receiving his MD from the University of Berlin. His academic research centred on gene regulation, with his PhD thesis focusing on the regulation of the prostaglandin H synthase. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters.

Kalkbrenner worked in the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and in the Institute of Pharmacology of the Freie Universität, Berlin, and held several positions in Boehringer Ingelheim’s pulmonary research department before taking over
its licensing department in 2005. In 2010 Kalkbrenner joined BIVF, shortly after the company’s creation.

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