Spotlight: Selection Committee Member

 A Brief Background:

Bobby W. Sandage, Jr., Ph.D. has 34 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and was recently appointed President and CEO of Euclises Pharmaceuticals a St. Louis based start-up pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment for cancer. Before joining Euclises he consulted for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Previously, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Coronado BioSciences, Inc. and before that he was vice president of Covidien (Mallinckrodt) Pharmaceuticals’ oncology research and development program. For 19 years, Dr. Sandage was the Chief Scientific Officer and executive vice president of research and development, quality and manufacturing at Indevus Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Endo Pharmaceuticals in 2009. Prior to Indevus he held senior drug development positions at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, DuPont/American Critical Care, Merrell Dow and Dow Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Sandage is currently a director and chairman of Immunophotonics, a private oncology company and selection committee member for iSelect Fund and mentor for Cultivation Capital.


How did you end up in St. Louis?

I was recruited to St. Louis to head the oncology program for Covidien Pharmaceuticals (now Mallinckrodt). I did that for one year and then was recruited to run a start-up back in Boston, but my wife and I liked living in St. Louis so I commuted for the 2 years that I ran the company. We were successful in raising money (over $55M) for the company, in taking the company public, and in getting two drug products into clinical trials. However, I decided that two years of commuting was enough and chose to start a consulting practice here in St. Louis. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of the pharmaceutical and biotech start-up environment here in town and I’ve been lucky to be able to become involved in a number of companies.


Tells us about your involvement in the entrepreneurial scene.

At Covidien, a very big pharmaceutical company (over $2B in sales), I had the luxury of having over one hundred people on my staff and a large budget; that was very nice, but I like smaller more entrepreneurial environments. With a start-up you are closer to the action; it’s hands on and the work you do can make a difference for the company and the patients that you are trying to serve. At a big company those things can happen, but you are not as close to the action.


What intrigued you about iSelect?

For a long time I’ve been interested in the VC world. I think if you’re smart and you invest in the right companies, the payoffs are incredible. The investments made by these venture capitalists are critical and will hopefully allow these companies a chance to be successful. I was impressed with vision and desire at iSelect. iSelect is filling a critical investment niche. As anyone in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry will tell you; you will experience failures, but if you are lucky you will have some successes. By being part of iSelect I am hoping that I can help one or two more companies achieve successes.


Thank you Bobby!