Former Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler has found a second act as a venture capitalist. He has joined Lux Capital as a venture partner, which has different meanings at different VC firms, but in this case calls on him to work with Lux's portfolio companies and to aid the group in picking winners in healthcare.
During a turbulent tenure as chairman and CEO of the world's largest drugmaker, Kindler left a legacy at Pfizer ($PFE) as a big dealmaker. His signature move was the $68 billion Wyeth buyout, a megadeal that brought tremendous scale to the company as well as massive layoffs and other integration pains. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Kindler left Pfizer in 2010 after investors grew unhappy with the company's poor stock performance.
With the Kindler appointment, Lux Capital has brought on one of the marquee names in the pharma industry. The firm, based in New York, has built a reputation for investing early in young biotech ventures such as Kala Pharmaceuticals, Genocea Biosciences and Cerulean Pharma. Presumably, these small biotech startups will be able to gain insights from Kindler, a lawyer by training, and draw on his experience in Big Pharma.
"I have great respect for the work Lux Capital is doing to build and back companies addressing some of healthcare's biggest challenges," Kindler said in the Lux release. "It's a great group, and I look forward to being actively involved across the portfolio."
Kindler follows other former execs from major drugmakers who have found homes and success in the venture game. After his tenure as CEO of MedImmune, David Mott joined New Enterprise Associates and has led many of the firm's major bets in biotech as a general partner. Also, Kindler's former colleague, John LaMattina, became a member of the startup-creation firm PureTech Ventures after his run as R&D chief at Pfizer.