- Christian Angermayer, a 39-year-old investor, left college in the late 1990s to help found a biotech company that would eventually become Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
- When he sold the company, Angermayer used the money to launch his family office, which still invests in healthcare and biotech companies.
- Angermayer explained how he picks his investments and why he’s not cut out to be in venture capital.
Christian Angermayer has spent about half his life as an investor.
Angermayer, 39, helped found a biotech company in 2000 that eventually became Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, quitting school to work on it. Today, the company has a market cap of about $12 billion. In December, it submitted its first drug, Patisiran, to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.
Angermayer now invests through his family office, Apeiron Investment Group, in three main areas: financial services, technology, and life sciences. It has about $365 million in assets.
A family office, he said, fit his style better than traditional venture capital. Typically, VCs fund several different companies in hopes that at least a few will be successful. That doesn’t work for Angermayer.
“I can’t see companies die,” Angermayer told Business Insider. “I can’t be a normal VC.”
When investing, whether in a startup or a company needing a new direction, Angermayer looks for two or three “trigger factors” he can act on — it keeps him from investing in companies in the earlier stages of developing a treatment, which can be a riskier bet if it fails a key trial.
In the case of MagForce, a medical-device company approved in Europe to treat brain cancer, it needed to hire a new CEO, roll out its device, and get more funding.
After Angermayer invested in 2013, MagForce hired Ben Lipps, a veteran medical-device executive, as CEO. MagForce is now running a clinical trial in the US with the technology to treat prostate cancer.
It was also Angermayer’s approach to Compass Pathways, a startup working to get psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) therapy approved for use in clinics to help treat depression and anxiety.
Because psilocybin has previously been tested, the company can go straight to later-stage trials, which could make it more straightforward to get to approval.
“I don’t like gambling,” Angermayer said.