Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dalton Joins Pfizer

The make over of the corporate VC world continues.

IN VIVO Blog has recently learned that Pfizer Inc. brought aboard Barbara Dalton, formerly of SR One and EuclidSR, to lead its Pfizer Strategic Investment Group. In hiring Dalton, Pfizer is sticking with the decision to be represented by professionals with experience on the front lines of venture capital investing rather than shuffling people out from the corporate side of the business.

Dalton joins Debra Yu, formerly of Delphi Ventures and Bay City Capital, who helped start the group three years ago. She replaces Ilya Oshman. She’ll report directly to Ed Harrigan, senior vice president of worldwide licensing and business development. “We are certainly pleased to have Barbara join us – she brings a great deal of experience, is very well-respected in the field, and will surely put her stamp on Pfizer’s venture investment group,” Harrigan told IN VIVO Blog in an email.

Pfizer is taking a unique approach with this venture effort. First, as we stated earlier, it’s bringing in outside people with venture investing experience and, more important, connections. To be sure, any VC or chief executive will return a phone call from Pfizer. But the program clearly benefits from having familiar faces represent in the field at conferences and other venture gathering places.

Second, from the very first day the venture group steered clear of Pfizer’s internal research and development wheelhouse—pharmaceuticals—as well as some external efforts (remember the Pfincubator and our other posts?). Instead, the group sought to invest in companies that might influence how pharmaceuticals are used, marketed or paid for.

The group has built a significant portfolio in diagnostics and, no doubt as part of this effort, the corporate side of the house has stood up and taken notice, becoming an aggressive and progressive player in diagnostics. “She brings the needed talent and personality to the job that is important as our venture activity evolves to its new place in the organization," Yu told us in an email.

Prior to moving over to EuclidSR in 2003, Dalton had been president of SR One, one of the grand daddies of corporate venture programs in the pharmaceutical world, for two years. Founded by Peter Sears in 1985, SR One first invested on behalf of Smithkline Beckman. It has survived all these years as its corporate sponsor went through mergers.

Dalton became president in 2001 when Brenda Gavin, who took over for Sears in 1999, moved on to co-found Quaker BioVentures in 2001.

Dalton left SR One in 2003 with two other principals to become full-time investors at EuclidSR, a New York venture capital firm. This group grew out of a partnership between Euclid Partners, a venture capital firm, and SR One. The firm that sought to invest in companies that benefited from the “convergence” of health care and information technology.

EuclidSR raised at least one fund in 2000, the first year of the partnership. Dalton and other SR One principals invested on behalf of both GSK and EuclidSR until their departure in 2003. It’s unclear what Dalton’s departure means for EuclidSR. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

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