2 Pittsburgh CEOs Launch Velocity Fund; New Private Equity Fund Targets Promising Life Sciences Companies
$35 Million Fund Announces First Acquisition of Global, Clinical CRO And First Investment in Promising Skin Cancer Treatment
PITTSBURGH (May xx, 2016) — Two accomplished CEOs – one from the health care industry and the other from the pharmaceutical field – have joined forces to launch Velocity Fund Partners, a $35 million private equity fund targeting the life sciences industry. Velocity also announced its first acquisition of a global contract research organization (CRO) as well as a significant investment in Skinject, a novel method to treat skin cancer.
Kenneth Melani, M.D., the former president and CEO of Highmark Inc., and James M. Nolan, CEO of several life sciences companies, are the Managing Directors of Velocity. The fund targets life sciences companies in the pharmaceuticals, devices, medical services, and diagnostics spaces.
“We focus on life sciences companies that offer a significant scientific advantage,” said Nolan. “Our unique background in health care management and life sciences development can help accelerate a company’s trajectory.”
Velocity’s first acquisition is a global CRO that it has rebranded as InClinica. It works across all phases of clinical development with a particular strength in assisting small and mid-sized companies entering first-in-man and phase II clinical studies. Its clinical team has led trials around the world in multiple disease states – such as oncology, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases – and medical device technologies.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, InClinica has locations in the U.K., Israel, Australia and Asia. The company employs XX. Nolan will serve as its CEO.
The fund also made a significant investment in Skinject, a novel device that treats basal and squamous cell cancer. Developed by Louis D. Falo, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Dermatology Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Skinject is a patch that delivers a drug through tiny needles. The single-use system not only kills the cancer cells, it also immunizes the patient against recurrence by using the patient’s own tumor as a vaccine.
It can treat a basal cell cancer in an hour. Skinject helps patients avoid the disfigurement that often results when a basal cell is removed by scalpel in a procedure known as Mohs surgery. It is also significantly less expensive than surgery.
“Velocity Fund Partners has launched with two very strong companies in its portfolio,” said Melani. “We are in discussions with several other promising companies. We look forward to growing our portfolio with additional scientifically-driven opportunities to which we can lend our significant management expertise and industry connections to help accelerate their growth.”
Other members of the Velocity Fund Partners management team are: Michael Fare, Partner, who serves as Head of Operations; and Joseph Donnelly, Partner, who serves as Head of Finance. Fare has more than 30 years’ experience in drug discovery research and business development. Donnelly has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, working as both a consultant and a financial manager.
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Former Healthcare CEO Ken Melani Partners with Pharma Leader Jim Nolan