Michael Powell, PhD

General Partner

Mike has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical development experience, and has focused on clinical-stage product companies, particularly in the oncology and neurology areas. He joined Sofinnova Ventures as a General Partner in 1997. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Mike worked on 20 clinical products and authored almost 100 papers and books, including an 1,000–page treatise on vaccine design. Mike was the initial investor in: Actelion (SWX: ATLN), InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN), Anesiva (Nasdaq: ANSV), Orexigen Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OREX), Seattle Genetics (Nasdaq: SGEN), Threshold Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: THLD), and Trius Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TSRX), as well as several private companies such as: Alvine, Ascenta and Intellikine (acquired by Millennium/Takeda). He most recently led Sofinnova's investments in Mirna Therapeutics (Chairman) and Labrys Biologics.

Mike is currently Board President of AVAC (AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition) in NYC, a past Advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a past Strategic Advisor to One World Health, and a Founding Venture Advisory Board member of the IAVI (International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) Innovation Fund. He also serves on the University of Kansas board of IAMI (Institute for the Advancement of Medical Innovation). He flies too much, but he loves it.

Mike was Group Leader of Drug Delivery at Genentech (1990–97) where his focus was developing new formulations for protein and peptide therapeutics. In 1987 he was part of the founding team of Cytel; as Director of Product Development he was responsible for the company's early growth which culminated in a their IPO. Before this he was Scientist and Project Team Leader at Syntex Research. Mike haS the honor of being the first scientist from the biotechnology industry to be elected a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. He was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kansas, and past Editorial Board member of J. Pharm. Sci., and a past Scientific Advisor to the Controlled Release Society.

He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1981, and completed his post-doctorate work in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of California, where he was subsequently a faculty member (1981–84).

Assistant: Nora Martin. Email: nora(at)sofinnova.com.


(650) 681-8425


Representative Investments