Open Nav

Corporate Venture Funds and Traditional VCs: Can They Coexist?

Wednesday, October 26th, 12:00pm-12:55pm, Twin Peaks North/South

Corporate venture funds are nothing new. Large biotech and pharmaceutical companies have leveraged these financing organizations for years with a focus on funding early-stage projects—with innovative deal structures at times—that might not otherwise be considered by their parent companies.  For about a three year period beginning in early 2008, the biotech industry experienced a financing drought as difficult economic conditions spread to affect not only early stage biotech companies but traditional venture capital firms as well.  Many VC firms were forced to do some “soul searching” on their business model.  During that time, corporate venture funds began to step up to fill critical financing gaps for early stage products, and we’ve steadily seen an increase in the number of large companies with their own funds.  In today’s competitive licensing environment for early-stage assets and with traditional venture capital financing on the rebound, a question remains: how best can corporate venture funds and traditional VCs coexist? Please join a panel of corporate and traditional venture capitalists as they discuss their financing strategies and areas of focus as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with bringing the next series of innovative products to market.


  • Jeron Eaves, Practice Executive, Campbell Alliance


  • Brian G. Atwood, Managing Director, Versant Ventures
  • Janis Naeve, PhD, Director, Amgen Ventures
  • Brian McVeigh, VP of Worldwide Business Development Transactions & Investment Management, GSK
  • Asish K. Xavier, PhD, Vice President, J&J Development Corporation

  Who's Who


Brian Atwood - Brian specializes in biotechnology investing at Versant. He is a cofounder of Versant Ventures and before this spent four years at Brentwood Venture Capital where, as a general partner, he led investments in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and bioinformatics. Brian also has more than 15 years of operating experience in the biotechnology industry, with 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. Prior to this, 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 served on the Board of Directors at Pharmion Corporation (sold to Celgene in 2008). Brian currently serves as a Board member at the private companies FivePrime Therapeutics, Inc., Veracyte, Inc., OpGen, Inc., PhaseRx, Inc., Clovis Pharmaceuticals, Immune Design Corp., and Groove BioPharma, Inc. (formerly Mirina Corporation), as well as the public companies, Cadence Pharmaceuticals (CADX), Helicos Biosciences (HLCS) and Trius Therapeutics, Inc.

Brian received a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine; a Master's degree from the University of California, Davis, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jeron Eaves - Mr. Eaves brings to Campbell Alliance 12 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.  He leverages his scientific and business education, as well as real-world experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech space, to address strategic business development and commercial challenges for Campbell Alliance clients. 

Before joining Campbell Alliance, Mr. Eaves was a Business Development Analyst at Inspire Pharmaceuticals.  Prior to that role, Mr. Eaves held positions as a freelance Business Plan Consultant and in Corporate Finance for a Fortune 50 Company.  Before pursuing his MBA, Mr. Eaves worked as a synthetic organic chemist with a focus on the design and development of novel therapeutics for two biotechnology companies.

Mr. Eaves earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and a BS in chemistry from the University of North Carolina. 

Janis Naeve, PhD - Dr. Naeve joined Amgen in 2005 as a Director in the Company's corporate venture capital fund. She directs the fund's investment in early-stage biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. From 2002 to 2005, Dr. Naeve was director of Corporate Development at X-Ceptor Therapeutics which was acquired by Exelixis. Prior to this she was director of Business Development at Aurora Biosciences where she led transactions for the ion channel technology business unit and managed the collaborations with Pfizer, Merck, Lilly and Bristol Myers-Squibb. Dr. Naeve holds a Ph.D. in Pathology from University of Southern California and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology.

Asish Xavier, PhD - Dr. Xavier joined Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) in 2004. He is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Dr. Xavier previously worked in business development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical, Inc., which was acquired by Pfizer in 2007. While at BioRexis, he assisted the company in raising a $30 million second round of financing. Dr. Xavier has worked in business development at Structural GenomiX, Inc., acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008, and was a project leader at Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Xavier received a PhD from the University of Houston and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors. He received a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. Dr. Xavier was also a postdoctoral research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University.