Movie star Jennifer Aniston joins biotech scientists at VC-backed outfit

Jon Flint, Jennifer Aniston and Jill Beraud of Living Proof--Image courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Living Proof

Biotech has gone Hollywood at Living Proof. Jennifer Aniston has signed on as co-owner and the celebrity face of the company, which has previously rallied such biotech aficionados as MIT's Bob Langer and Harvard's Rox Anderson in an effort to make hair products with scientific inventions. And the star power of the internationally recognized actress could bolster the prospects of life sciences investor Polaris Venture Partners' bet on the company.

Cambridge, MA-based Living Proof is an atypical company for Langer and Polaris. The Waltham, MA-based venture firm and the MIT inventor have previously joined forces with others on many drug developers such as Bind Biosciences and Selecta Biosciences as well as medical device startups such as Seventh Sense and T2 Biosystems. Yet Langer has noted a common thread between such startups and Living Proof is the application of science to solve problems.

That is true. Even though Living Proof is using science to attack frizzy hair rather than, as in the case of Bind, cancer, The Wall Street Journal reports that Living Proof has picked up 9 patents. Plus, the company's products hit the market way faster than any of Polaris' drug developers' assets, which typically take 7 years or more to advance through trials and face tough odds of success along the way.

Polaris, fortunately for biotech companies, has stuck with therapeutics startups as other venture firms abandon risky bioscience bets. The firm earlier this week joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a bevy of VC outfits in a $30 million round for Genocea, a developer of new vaccines for serious health threats such as malaria. As with Genocea and Living Proof, Polaris is naturally seeking major returns on its investments.

Living Proof could pay off handsomely for the VC firm if lots of people respond to Aniston's endorsement of its scientifically advanced hair products.

- here's the release
- check out the WSJ's article

Special Reports: Bind Biosciences - Fierce's 5 Drug Delivery Companies to Watch | Selecta Biosciences - 2011 Fierce 15 | T2 Biosystems – 2012 Fierce 15