Third Rock names ex-Foundation executive Steven Kafka as venture partner

Over the years, Kafka has served at three early-stage companies chosen for the Fierce 15. (Pixabay)

Third Rock Ventures has named Steven Kafka, former president and chief operating officer of Foundation Medicine, as a new venture partner.

There, he will focus on the formation of companies looking to discover and develop novel therapeutics, according to a Third Rock spokesperson.

Kafka stepped down from Foundation in February after more than five years with the genomic profiling and diagnostics company, which was named one of the Fierce 15 in 2012. Since then, Kafka has been taking time off to consider his next steps as part of a “gap year,” according to his LinkedIn page.

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Prior to Foundation, Kafka served as COO and chief financial offer of Aileron Therapeutics, developers of stapled peptide drugs aimed at reactivating tumor suppression, itself a Fierce 15 winner from 2009. Before that, he was VP of finance at Infinity Pharmaceuticals—which, also, was named a Fierce 15 winner back in 2005.

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In June, Roche signed off on a $2.4 billion deal to buy out Foundation Medicine, three years after the Big Pharma acquired a 56% stake in the company for $1 billion. The deal furthers Roche’s inroads into precision medicine while allowing Foundation to retain its autonomy and continue its work with other companies.