29 August 2018

LSIPR 50 2018: Jean-François Formela

Name: Jean-François Formela

Organisation: Atlas Venture

Position: Managing Director and Partner

Jean-François Formela is managing director and partner at Atlas Venture. He’s also chairman of IFM Therapeutics and serves on the boards of Intellia Therapeutics; F-star; Kyn Therapeutics; Spero Therapeutics and Translate Bio (which he co-founded).

In his position at Atlas Venture Formela focuses on new advances in biology and drug discovery technologies, as well as novel therapeutics. Atlas Venture is a US-based company which invests in life sciences startups.

In March, one of its beneficiaries, Surface Oncology, announced that the first patient was treated in its Phase 1 trial of SRF231. The treatment is a fully human antibody that inhibits the activity of CD47 (a protein overexpressed on different types of cancer cells, subsequently preventing their being engulfed and eliminated by macrophages).

Formela has been involved in forming several companies that have gone on to be acquired by larger life sciences businesses. These include Adnexus (acquired by BMS); Arteaus Therapeutics (acquired by Eli Lilly); and Cellzome (acquired by GSK).

Before joining Atlas Venture in 1993 to build the US life sciences franchise, Formela worked at pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough where he was responsible for the marketing of Intron A, the company’s alpha-interferon.

Formela practised emergency medicine at Necker University Hospital in France, where his career began as a doctor. Aside from being a partner at Atlas Venture and serving on several boards, he is a member of the MGH Research Advisory Council and is a former trustee of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.

He received his MD from Paris University School of Medicine and his MBA from Columbia University.

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