GV names ex-Agios CEO David Schenkein as general partner

Former Agios Pharmaceuticals CEO David Schenkein has joined the life science investing team at GV. Schenkein will co-lead the life science team at the fund, formerly known as Google Ventures, with Krishna Yeshwant.

Schenkein’s time away from the spotlight was brief. Over close to a decade in charge of Agios, Schenkein turned the company from a preclinical-stage startup to a commercial business with two drugs on the market. Schenkein walked away from the CEO post of the company he built at the start of the month, clearing the way for ex-Celgene COO Jackie Fouse to take his place.

Now, Schenkein has revealed his next move. The biotech veteran has landed at GV, the venture capital wing of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The brief gap between leaving the CEO post and arriving at GV reflects the fact that, while Schenkein wanted out of the all-consuming life of a biotech CEO, he has no desire to stop working altogether.

“I could barely make it through a weekend, let alone retire,” Schenkein told Bloomberg, which broke news of the appointment. “I knew I wanted to continue to try and grow the breadth of my impact in health care and on patients, but do it in a different way.”

GV will give Schenkein the means to scratch that itch. While most tech-affiliated and focused groups have stayed clear of the risky business of drug development, GV has become a familiar participant in the VC rounds of biotechs working at the cutting-edge of biology. Yeshwant, a physician who will lead the life science team with Schenkein, lists Editas, Relay and other biotechs among his investments.

Biotechs in GV’s portfolio will now benefit from the input of Schenkein, one of the few people with a track record of turning a preclinical startup into a commercial business. That experience encouraged GV to move quickly when Schenkein became available. 

“David’s oncology expertise, and experience spearheading Agios’ growth, will be tremendous assets to the portfolio as GV’s founders grow and scale healthcare companies,” GV CEO David Krane said in an emailed statement. “David has a proven track record as an exceptional CEO and mentor, and we’re thrilled to have him join the team.”