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How to Spot a Biotech Winner: Investment Lessons from Sofinnova

Making one biotech a success is hard enough, but correctly predicting multiple winners is the bread and butter of Antoine Papiernik, Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners, one of the biggest and most prosperous life science venture capital investors in Europe.

Papiernik began his career in corporate finance. In 1995, he was working in investment in Prague for the French financial organization CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations). He was asked to come back to France to work on a life sciences and information technology fund CDC Innovation, which began his career as a life science investor. 

Two years later, the opportunity arose to join the French VC firm Sofinnova Partners and he has been there ever since, seeing the company and the biotech industry in Europe develop and grow during that time. 

What do you look for when hiring a new investor for the firm?

It’s tough to start in this industry nowadays. We want it all – someone who has deep scientific training, which doesn’t mean they know everything about everything, but they have a very good way of looking into data and going deep into the science, whatever the science is. If they are a physician, they also bring something else – understanding human biology and diseases. We like to have both. 

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