Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the September 10,
2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Epigenesis Investors: Care Capital
Epigenesis is alive today in part because of the
clout that Care Capital brings to the funding table. Among the
partners is Jan Leschly, former CEO of SmithKline Beecham, and Jerry
Karabelas, former CEO of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals at Novartis has
joined the firm.
"Companies look for us where Jan Leschly’s and Jerry Karabelas’
experience could be helpful," says David Ramsay, a Care Capital
Epigenesis’s money comes from the $130 million collected so far in
Care Capital’s second funding round. Care Capital’s first round
$100 million, divided among five or six investments that are doing
"We helped the company reinvent itself," says Ramsay.
involved focusing less on a discovery platform and long term, blue
sky investment and more on very specific product development. The
approach we took reflected the realities of a very difficult financing
"It was a fair amount of work — to narrow down the business
focus to the most important product and raise the funds to develop
that to proof of concept and bring in a management team whose
was relevant to that strategy," he says.
"We have a lot of portfolio companies with productive and
scientists who come up with a lot of ideas, and we help them
on those with the most commercial potential."
Princeton 08540. Jan Leschly, chairman/CEO. 609-683-8300; fax,
Home page: www.carecapital.com
Jim Gunton, a partner with the New Jersey Technology
Council Venture Capital Fund, says the imprimatur of Care Capital
helped the partners at the fund decide to invest in Epigenesis.
Founded in December, 2000, the NJTC Venture Fund has a proprietary
affiliation with the New Jersey Technology Council, the business
organization. Limited partners include the NJ Economic Development
Authority, Commerce Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Kemper Insurance.
Designated as an SBIC fund, it can get up to $50 million from the
Small Business Administration, which makes it the largest early stage
fund focusing on the New Jersey market.
Its first funding round was $80 million. Epigenesis is one of its
first investments, along with Incurrent Solutions, KidBiz, Management
Dynamics, Netilla Networks, Quantiva, Telelogue, and Teltier
The fund seeks to invest in companies ranging from very early seed
stage through those with annual revenues of $5 million.
"We invested in Epigenesis for a few reasons," says Gunton.
"They had an experienced team that knew the industry and knew
how to grow a small company, and a world class scientist had put
"Second, because of some ups and downs the company was suffering
the valuation was at a bargain price despite having had millions of
dollars poured into it from international pharmaceutical
Of great importance was the leadership of Care Capital, which promised
to put its own money in and round up other monies to get the company
through expensive clinical trial crisis.
"And among the smaller benefits," says Gunton, " is that one of
the people on our healthcare advisory board for NJTC, Zola Horowitz,
happens to be on the board of directors for this company, so we had
Says Gunton: "The short version is that when you are a startup
you need to have some kind of differentiator, either a unique domain
and expertise or a set of customer relationships to drive early
It is difficult to convince the skeptical investor that you can
from the other 10,000 startups."
— Barbara Fox
Mount Laurel 08054. Jim Gunton, general partner. 856-273-6800; fax,
856-787-9800. Home page: www.njtcvc.com
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