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Alexander Barkas

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Alexander Barkas Obituary


Alexander Barkas

Resident of Los Gatos

Venture Capitalist

Alex Barkas passed away unexpectedly Monday November 21. He is survived by his loving wife Lynda, daughters Alina and Johanna; his sister Stella Royce (Dan) and their children Dan Jr., Jackie and Carolyn; and his brother Peter (Jodi) and their children Galia (Kfir) and Aleeza. Alex was born July 17, 1947 in Munich Germany. He came to the USA when he was 2 years old. Alex attended high school in Bayside and Queens in New York and graduated from Brandeis University in 1968. Alex received his Ph.D. at New York University, while working at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and did post graduate work at The Whitehead Institute in Boston. Alex's research experience was gained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Genetics Department at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, and Duke University. He moved from the research side of science to the business side of science by beginning his career with Arthur D. Little and then starting his own consulting business BioBridge Associates.

Alex identified his career love as venture capital and had the privilege of serving as life science venture capitalist since 1991, starting as a Partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Alex co-founded Prospect Venture Partners in 1997, a venture capital firm dedicated to investing in biomedical innovation. Alex and his partners successfully raised over $1B from foundations endowments, pension funds and other Limited Partners to invest and support entrepreneurs building and growing new enterprises. Over the past 20 years, Alex worked closely with his co-founding partners David Schnell and Russell Hirsch as well as with his partners Dorothy Margolskee, Ilan Zipkin and Don Hayden. Alex loved the business of science and was widely acclaimed for his exceptional skill and talent in identifying new areas of scientific discovery, and then founding companies to develop and commercialize those discoveries. With a long track record of successfully partnering with entrepreneurs, Alex participated in the financing of over 70 biomedical companies. He helped start and served on the Board of Directors of numerous successful biotechnology companies including Amicus, Complete Genomics, Connetics, Geron, Novacept, SurgRx, Tercica, Topica Pharmaceuticals, Tinea, and numerous other private companies. He also served as the founding CEO of Geron and of Connetics. For both of these start-up companies, Dr. Barkas worked with the scientific founders to develop and refine the companies' initial business plans, in-license key enabling technology and products, recruit world class scientific talent and advisory board members, secure significant milestone-driven venture financing and recruited experienced senior executive management teams, helping lead them to become important public companies. Alex also served on the Brandeis University Board of Trustees and as Chairman of the Brandeis University Science Advisory Board

Alex is remembered as a loving husband and father and will be deeply missed by his family, friends and many business associates. He was exceptionally generous, caring and compassionate. While he had children later in life, his world revolved around them. Alex was supportive, genuine, sincere, and passionate about his work and the people around him. He encouraged excellence and led by example. He was a kind and generous soul, always the first to smile, the one who toasted each event, celebrated each success, and supported those in need. He was truly one of the "good guys".

A memorial service will be celebrated Tuesday, November 29 at 4:00 p.m. at the www.menlocircusclub.com 190 Park Lane Atherton CA 94027 650-322-4616. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Alex Barkas Innovation Fund At Brandeis University to recognize his love of start up companies or to the WVC (West Valley College) Preschool Parents Association to recognize his love of family.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 24, 2011
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