Westphal leaving SR One, concentrating on VC firm

After only a short run at the helm of SR One, GlaxoSmithKline's ambitious venture arm, Dr. Christoph Westphal is on his way out.

The co-founder of Sirtris, who helped engineer the sale of the biotech to GSK for $720 million in 2008, had attracted considerable attention in the industry for his twin venture roles. He launched Longwood Founders Fund last spring, with GSK as an investor, at the same time he took the top job at SR One. GSK says in a release that Westphal plans to devote himself to his fledgling VC operation. There is no hard departure date, though. GSK says the departure will come later this year.

"I would like to recognize Christoph's contributions to GSK and to R&D in the last three years," said GSK R&D chief Moncef Slaoui. "In addition to his achievements at Sirtris, he has brought an entrepreneur's perspective to our thinking on venture capital investments and deals to help us implement R&D's strategy to diversify through external collaborations. I wish him all the very best at Longwood Founders Fund."

Westphal reunited with Michelle Dipp and Rich Aldrich, both Sirtris vets, when they launched Longwood last year. GSK has begun a search to find his replacement.

- here's the release