RiverVest promotes one and hires another

RiverVest Venture Partners said Wednesday that it has promoted Dr. Niall O’Donnell from principal to managing director. The firm has also hired Mike Berman as venture partner. Prior to joining RiverVest, O’Donnell worked at Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical research and development in San Diego while Berman is a co-founder of eight medical technology companies including Velocimed, a RiverVest portfolio company that was bought by St. Jude Medical.

PRESS RELEASE

ST. LOUIS (April 2, 2014) – RiverVest Venture Partners today announced the promotion of Niall O’Donnell, Ph.D., to Managing Director. The life sciences venture capital firm also announced that medical device entrepreneur Mike Berman, a long-time member of RiverVest’s Scientific & Industry Advisory Board, has joined the firm as Venture Partner.
O’Donnell focuses on biopharmaceutical, diagnostic and medical device investing.
“Niall has been instrumental in the formation, development and clinical strategies of a number of our portfolio companies,” said RiverVest Managing Director John McKearn, Ph.D., who leads RiverVest’s biopharma practice.
O’Donnell joined RiverVest as a Kauffman Fellow in May 2006, became an associate after completing his fellowship in 2008, and was promoted to principal in 2010. Prior to joining RiverVest, O’Donnell spent five years as an immunologist at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development in San Diego.
O’Donnell is currently a board observer at RiverVest portfolio companies Otonomy, Inc., and Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he has been central to the development and execution of Lumena’s clinical strategy. He was an observer at Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Aptalis Pharma. He also served on the board of Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. O’Donnell helped co-found, seed and develop the clinical strategy for Excaliard and is a co-inventor on several of the company’s key patents.
O’Donnell earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and his M.A. in Biochemistry from Pembroke College, Oxford. He also received an M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.
Medical device entrepreneur Michael Berman, who has been a member of the RiverVest Scientific & Industry Advisory Board since 2004, is joining RiverVest as Venture Partner.
“Mike’s depth of experience and ability to identify and shape promising early-stage opportunities is a real asset for RiverVest,” said RiverVest Co-founder and Managing Director Jay W. Schmelter.
Berman is a co-founder of eight medical technology companies including Velocimed, LLC, a RiverVest Fund I portfolio company acquired by St. Jude Medical. In addition, he was a founding director of Lutonix, Inc., a RiverVest Fund II portfolio company acquired by C.R. Bard, and currently serves as a board member of a number of private and public medical technology companies.
Berman was the president of Boston Scientific Cardiology from 1995-2000, where he expanded the company’s leadership in the interventional cardiology market, growing worldwide revenue from $300 million to $1.5 billion through both organic growth and acquisitions. From 1997 to 2000, he was a member of Boston Scientific’s Executive Committee.
Berman earned his M.B.A. and B.S. from Cornell University.
About RiverVest Venture Partners®
RiverVest Venture Partners® is a venture capital firm focused on identifying and shaping promising life science companies to create significant shareholder value. Because of its extensive operating expertise, RiverVest is able to help entrepreneurs achieve near-term objectives that position their companies for exit.
Established in 2000, RiverVest has funded 29 and exited or taken public 15 innovative life science companies and has more than $250 million assets under management. For more information, please visit http://www.rivervest.com.

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