Christoph Westphal Leaving GSK’s SR One to Focus on Longwood Founders Fund

Xconomy Boston — 

[Update: 3:12 pm ET] Christoph Westphal, the Boston-based biotech mover/shaker, is leaving GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) later this year to focus on Longwood Founders Fund and other business interests, according to a press release this morning. Westphal is currently president of SR One, GSK’s venture capital arm. London-based GSK is also an investor in Longwood Founders Fund, the relatively new VC fund started by Westphal, Michelle Dipp, and Rich Aldrich.

Westphal originally came to GSK in 2008 through its $720 million acquisition of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, the anti-aging biotech firm where he was CEO and co-founder. Before that, he was a general partner at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham, MA, and a founder of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA), and Acceleron Pharma, among other companies. In 2010, Westphal left the CEO post at Sirtris to focus on VC as head of SR One.

GSK’s chairman of research and development, Moncef Slaoui, said in a statement: “Christoph remains a committed advisor to [Sirtris’s] efforts as well as leaving us with a stable foundation in place at SR One. I believe that Christoph’s contributions have made a significant impact in GSK and I am very pleased that he chose to remain within the company for an extended period following the acquisition. In addition to his achievements at Sirtris, he has brought an entrepreneur’s perspective to our thinking on deals to help us implement R&D’s strategy to diversify through external collaborations and venture capital investments.”

[Update: 3:12 pm ET]. Dipp, who has worked with Westphal at Sirtris and GlaxoSmithKline, will also be leaving her job at Glaxo this year to focus on Longwood Founders Fund, according to a spokesperson for Longwood. Both Westphal and Dipp have agreed to stay at Glaxo until their successors are recruited. Dipp and Westphal are expected to make their transitions to Longwood Founders Fund in the third or fourth quarter of 2011, the spokesperson said.

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6 responses to “Christoph Westphal Leaving GSK’s SR One to Focus on Longwood Founders Fund”

  1. Thanks Greg, for picking up this breaking news while I was on my bicycle commute to the office (what a team we have here at Xconomy).

    Now that I’m back online, I’ve added the update about how Michelle Dipp is also leaving GlaxoSmithKline, along with Westphal, to concentrate on Longwood Founders Fund.

  2. Pushga says:

    I suspect they were both shown the door. GSK lost a great deal of money on what amounts to a hill of beans.

  3. Jacob says:

    FLKS, VSTM,OVAS,SIRT, and now a 20mm financing for Axial…good luck Longwood.