Waypoint Capital taps ex-Sanofi CEO to lead healthcare fund

Waypoint Capital has named Christopher A. Viehbacher as managing partner of its healthcare-focused Gurnet Point Capital fund. His appointment becomes effective July 1. Previously, Viehbacher was CEO of Sanofi and chairman of Genzyme.


Geneva, Switzerland – 23 JUNE 2015: Waypoint Capital, the business enterprise for investments associated with the Bertarelli family, today announces the appointment of Christopher A. Viehbacher as the Managing Partner of its US-based Gurnet Point Capital (“GPC”) fund. GPC will have an initial allocation of US$2billion of capital to invest, with a mandate to lead its global healthcare investment strategy.

Chris Viehbacher has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Most recently, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi and Chairman of Genzyme.

Ernesto Bertarelli, the Chairman of Waypoint, said: “Chris is an industry leader with significant experience in acquiring companies, business development and licensing. In combination, this makes him the ideal person to lead Gurnet Point Capital and to drive our distinctive value-creating investment approach. Chris’s appointment is another demonstration of our ability to partner with best-in-class individuals.

“We have considerable capital to invest, but to succeed in the healthcare market requires more than money; it requires the experience, ability and relationships to create successful partnerships; the development and regulatory competency; and the know-how to create value from individual molecules, devices or technologies. Chris has these qualities in abundance, which will complement our existing skills and the strategy we have set for GPC, building on the work that Fereydoun Firouz and his team undertook since they founded the fund. We thank Fereydoun for his critical role in establishing Gurnet Point Capital in 2013 and congratulate him on his recent appointment as Chairman & CEO designate of Ares Allergy Holdco Ltd., our new global group of operating companies in the allergy immunotherapy sector.”

Mr. Viehbacher will grow the existing team headquartered at Gurnet Point Capital’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an area with which the Bertarelli family has a long and continuing association. He joins from 1 July 2015.

Commenting on his appointment, Chris Viehbacher said: “I am delighted to be joining Gurnet Point Capital and its team of outstanding healthcare experts, which we will continue to expand. It is a particular pleasure to be asked to work with Ernesto Bertarelli, who has such an outstanding track record of achievement himself in this sector.

“From the moment I first met Ernesto to discuss his vision for GPC, I knew we shared an outlook for an approach to investment that combines capital with know-how, and takes a global approach to seeking the best and most exciting opportunities. Science is progressing at an accelerating pace and the next few years will see a number of more transformative treatments, devices and technologies coming to market. I know Gurnet Point Capital will be at the heart of bringing those to patients, and I look forward to working with Ernesto and his team to make this happen.”

Waypoint Capital is the business enterprise for the managers and advisers of the funds and investments associated with the Bertarelli family. The group is active in two areas: life sciences and asset management, including real estate. Chaired by Ernesto Bertarelli, Waypoint is headquartered in Geneva, with offices in London, Jersey, Boston and Luxembourg. www.waypointcapital.net

Gurnet Point Capital
Founded in 2013 by Waypoint and Fereydoun Firouz, Gurnet Point Capital is an investment fund that enables established healthcare and life science businesses to accelerate growth and achieve their long-term vision. Its goal is to build successful companies that will be compelling forces in the future of healthcare. www.gurnetpointcapital.com

Ernesto Bertarelli
Chairman, Waypoint Capital
Ernesto Bertarelli is a Swiss entrepreneur, active in the fields of business, finance, sport and philanthropy. In 1996 he was appointed CEO of Serono, the biotech firm grown over the course of three generations of his family. Under his leadership, Serono continued its shift in focus from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology and, during the ensuing decade, revenues more than tripled to reach $2.8 billion in 2006. In 2007, Serono was sold to Merck KGaA of Germany.

Bertarelli graduated from Babson College in 1989 and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1993. In 2008 he was inducted into Babson College’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs, and is also a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. His family’s Foundation – active principally in the fields of marine conservation and life sciences – is a substantial donor to various leading academic institutions in the Boston area.

Christopher Viehbacher
Managing Partner, Gurnet Point Capital
Christopher Viehbacher is the former CEO of Sanofi. During his six year tenure, Sanofi completed over $30 billion of acquisitions, including Genzyme. Prior to Sanofi, Viehbacher spent 20 years with GlaxoSmithKline, ultimately as President of GSK’s North American pharmaceutical division. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of GSK plc and Co-President of GSK’s Portfolio Management Board. Viehbacher began his career with Price Waterhouse Coopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

Viehbacher has been Chairman of the Board of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), as well as President of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. He has received France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion d’Honneur.