Jeremy Caldwell, Ph.D., Accomplished Biopharma Executive, Company Creator and R&D Leader, Joins Red Tree Venture Capital as Partner

Former Venture Partner at Versant Ventures and CEO of Inception, Versant’s San Diego Company Creation Engine, Brings Red Tree Strong Ties to San Diego Biopharmaceutical Ecosystem

Addition of Dr. Caldwell Highlights Red Tree’s Strategic Prioritization of San Diego as Key West Coast Market for Sourcing Innovation to Drive Company Creation and Investment

Red Tree Also Highlights Successful IPO for Portfolio Company, Cargo Therapeutics; Represents One of 2023’s Largest New Nasdaq Biotech Listings

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Red Tree Venture Capital (“Red Tree”), a West Coast-centric, early stage-biased life science venture capital firm, today announced that Jeremy Caldwell, Ph.D., a widely respected biopharmaceutical executive and research and development leader, whose accomplishments span from the creation of innovative drug development companies to driving the discovery, development and translation of novel therapies, has joined the firm as a partner. Dr. Caldwell brings Red Tree a range of deep industry expertise built throughout a career involving roles as a member of both industry and the venture community. In alignment with the firm’s West Coast focus, he has forged deep ties within the San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area biotechnology communities.

Based in San Diego, Dr. Caldwell’s addition to Red Tree illustrates the firm’s increased emphasis on targeting company creation and investment opportunities emanating from the greater San Diego area. This market has long served as a hotbed of academic entrepreneurs, life sciences talent, and pharma leadership, providing a fertile environment for Red Tree to expand its current operations beyond the Bay Area. Nicknamed “Biotech Beach,” San Diego is the third largest and fastest-growing biotech hub in the U.S. and home to such prestigious life sciences institutions as Scripps Research, the Salk Institute and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The area has a rich history in the formation of successful biopharmaceutical companies and these vibrant research institutes are producing a steady stream of transformative biomedical breakthroughs capable of continuing that tradition.

“Jeremy has led an accomplished career in the biopharmaceutical space, achieving impressive successes from the perspectives of executive, R&D leader, and company builder. In his most recent role leading Inception, Versant Ventures’ San Diego-based company creation engine, he helped drive the establishment of various new biotech companies on the West Coast. His breadth of expertise, coupled with the deep relationships that he has established in the industry, position him as an ideal addition to Red Tree, particularly as we look to strategically expand our footprint,” said Heath Lukatch, co-founder and managing partner of Red Tree Venture Capital. “As a West Coast-centric venture firm, San Diego has always been high on our list of target markets within which to create a presence for sourcing the best and brightest local opportunities for developing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics and technologies. Jeremy’s strong and broad relationships in the San Diego biopharma ecosystem well position us to pursue our vision of establishing Red Tree as a leading venture firm serving this key Southern California geography.”

“I am thrilled to join Red Tree and work alongside Heath, Jennifer Cochran, Red Tree co-founder and chief scientific advisor, and the rest of the team of talented individuals to further cement the firm as a premier West Coast venture group. Heath and I have a long-standing relationship dating back several decades. We share similar views on the immense potential of the biotechnology space to drive amazing innovations in human health, as well as the role that venture can play in supporting brilliant scientists and entrepreneurs who drive these innovations,” stated Dr. Caldwell. “In my experience, San Diego is home to a wealth of scientists and entrepreneurs, along with broad-reaching skilled life sciences talent and access to Big Pharma. This confluence of key factors highlights San Diego as a major player in the biopharma space and gives me great excitement for the position that Red Tree can establish within the San Diego ecosystem.”

In his previous roles with Inception Therapeutics and Versant Ventures, Dr. Caldwell co-led in the formation of Chinook Therapeutics, which was acquired by Novartis in a deal valued at up to $3.5 billion, and co-led the investment and formation of Lycia Therapeutics, and Belharra Therapeutics, among others, acting as founding CEO and board director for each company. Prior to Inception/Versant, Dr. Caldwell was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock Ventures, where he participated in the genesis and formation of Revolution Medicines (RVMD), Pliant Therapeutics (PLRX), Decibel Therapeutics (DBTX), and Nurix Therapeutics (NRIX). He also played key roles in the foundational science on which Rigel, Inc. (RIGL), and Kalypsys, Inc., were formed, as well as advising in the build out of Syrrx, Inc., which was acquired by Takeda for approximately $270 million.

With drug discovery and development expertise primarily focused on oncology, immunology, neurology and cardiometabolic disease, Dr. Caldwell is credited with significant contributions to research leading to four commercial drugs. During his career he has served as executive director of molecular and cellular biology, lead discovery and genomics at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), vice president and head of RNA therapeutics at Sirna, lead discovery and protein sciences for Merck Research Laboratories, and executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Ardelyx, Inc. He currently serves as a member of the board of Red Tree portfolio companies Sardona Therapeutics and Biograph 55.

In other firm news, Red Tree is proud to highlight the successful initial public offering (IPO) for Cargo Therapeutics, one of the firm’s portfolio companies. Red Tree has roots dating back to the beginning of Cargo Therapeutics, having participated as a co-investor in the company’s seed financing round. Since that initial investment, the firm co-led a $32 million bridge financing for Cargo and served as a co-investor in the company’s $200 million Series A funding round. Additionally, Dr. Lukatch was a Cargo board director prior to the company’s IPO. Cargo Therapeutic completed one of this year’s largest biotech IPOs on November 9, 2023, raising approximately $281 million and marking a significant milestone for Red Tree as the firm’s first IPO.

About Red Tree Venture Capital

Red Tree Venture Capital is a West Coast-centric, early stage-biased life science venture capital firm. The firm was founded on the idea that an untapped opportunity exists for a venture capital firm guided by a targeted strategy of leveraging deep relationships with leading West Coast academic and research institutions to source innovation emerging from those organizations. Red Tree Venture Capital has raised an inaugural $272 million fund, Red Tree Venture Capital Fund I, to create and invest in companies developing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics and technologies in the areas of oncology, neurology and immunology.

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