Gianni Garotta: on to the next thing

This month Gi­anni is re­tir­ing. We have been work­ing to­gether for al­most 10 years.

Gi­anni is a top level im­mu­nol­o­gist, with sev­eral claims to fame in his ca­reer: for­mer head of bi­ol­ogy at Human Genome Sci­ence and, be­fore that, head of the cy­tokine and mon­o­clonal an­ti­body  groups at Roche, where he also headed the in­ter­feron gamma group. He brought to the clinic the first ever drug from ge­nomics re­search (MPF1). Fi­nally, he's a re­lent­less tai­lor of so many aca­d­e­mic col­lab­o­ra­tions and he was re­spon­si­ble for ex­tra­mural re­search at Merck Serono, his last cor­po­rate job. Then, for the last 10 years Gi­anni has been ac­tive in ven­ture cap­i­tal, hav­ing joined our Geneva of­fice, as in house sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor.

I can­not even count the num­bers of fun­da­men­tal con­tri­bu­tions that Gi­anni has brought to our in­vest­ment prac­tice: two calls above all the oth­ers: he was the first to see the break­through po­ten­tial of the idea set for­ward by David Grainger: when David walked in the Index of­fice for the first time in 2006, Gi­anni said “I have not seen this be­fore, we can­not let it go."  And his other top call was about the Amu­nix tech­nol­ogy, de­vel­oped by Pim Stem­mer: Gi­anni was re­ally one of the key dri­vers, along­side Mark de Boer and Kevin John­son, be­hind our ex­cite­ment for the tech­nol­ogy, that com­pelled us to form Di­ar­tis and Ver­sar­tis, two dis­tinct joint ven­tures with Amu­nix, that re­tained the tech­nol­ogy, while Di­ar­tis used the tech­nol­ogy for a GLP1 prod­uct, and Ver­sar­tis for a human growth hor­mone.

To date, David Grainger’s com­pany has been sold to Boehringer In­gel­heim and both Di­ar­tis and Ver­sar­tis have al­ready demon­strated the value of their prod­ucts. Gi­anni also made many calls that helped us avoid mak­ing the wrong in­vest­ments.

Sharp brains, tough char­ac­ter and an in­cred­i­bly mod­est and like­able per­son.

He will now be at home, and I re­ally hope that Do­nata, his wife, will be able to cope with him….Granted, Gi­anni will spend a lot of his time in his beau­ti­ful gar­den, at­tend­ing to one of his fa­vorite hob­bies: nur­tur­ing sheep!  The other being sail­ing: for that he often dri­ves to Lake Mag­giore.

Thanks Gi­anni.  Have fun on the next big thing.