Michael Atkin has over 20 years of experience in life sciences as an entrepreneur, start-up executive, leader and manager in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and in advancing university stage research towards commercialization. He has served as CEO of three biotechnology firms.
Michael was founding CEO of Aegera Therapeutics, an apoptosis control company formed by the merger of McGill spinout Exogen Neurosciences with Apoptogen, where he raised $42m in three financing rounds, and advanced two novel first-in-class drugs to the clinic. Michael led multiple technology and product partnerships with firms including Wyeth, Millennium, BD, Idera and Curis, driving $3m in revenues. Aegera secured 18 issued US patents around the IAP platform, which Michael advanced into small molecule medicinal chemistry. This program was subsequently partnered with HGS in a $20m upfront deal. Michael worked closely with the five scientific founders.
Michael was recruited as Executive Chair and subsequently as CEO of seed-stage firm Ulysses Pharmaceuticals, focused on overcoming antibiotic resistance. Michael raised $2m in soft money grants and financing and signed a US-led Series A $18m financing term sheet, before toxicology results put a hold on the lead drug and the company financing.
Michael has partnered almost two dozen products, technologies and companies. He knows how to package assets, and how to develop products so they will appeal to larger partners for commercialization. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, he worked closely with Morgan Stanley to sell consumer packaged goods brands for proceeds exceeding $850 million. He also has prior experience in the chemical industry. Michael has extensive valuation and merger experience, and has negotiated many licenses, research contracts and option agreements.
Michael is deeply focused on understanding unmet medical needs as perceived by key opinion leaders, physicians, patients, and payors. He advocates strong commercialization planning, by early development of target clinical indications, product profiles and go/no go criteria. Michael learned pharmaceutical licensing at Lederle International, ($1 billion sales), and product development and strategic marketing in the BMS global CNS group. He served as head of licensing, and worked on drugs in Phases I to III as the marketing representative on new product development teams. Michael led the Stadol NS Project Working Group, and won FDA support to change dosing of this marketed drug with a PK study.
Michael’s current clients include a McGill University spin-out, with whom he is working on a novel hypnotic drug with significant advantages over the GABA A agonists which are the current mainstay of therapy; Michael led the team which secured $0.9 million for McGill in March 2010 to finance hypnotic medicinal chemistry plus preclinical development studies to prepare for an institutional seed round, supported by MSBiV. In April 2011 a $1.9 million cancer targeting grant from CQDM to Professor Sylvain Martel’s nanorobotics lab. at Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal was announced; this grant includes Michael as a co-investigator with responsibility for regulatory affairs and commercialization. Michael also supports a point-of-care SPR medical device diagnostic platform, working with Université de Montréal. His former client Photon etc. announced their $0.7 million cellular imaging grant in October 2011.
Michael was elected Chairman of the Board of antibiotic chemistry firm Sopharmia Inc in St. Joseph, Missouri in March, 2012. He earned his MBA from Columbia University’s graduate school of business, and has strong strategic, analytical and negotiation skills.
Examples of current and former clients may be found on the Case Studies page.