Dr. Seth A. Rudnick

For the last fifteen years of his active career, Dr. Rudnick built and led the health care investing team at Canaan Partners.  Canaan had a small but strong record in health care investing prior to Seth’s arrival.  He was charged with identifying a strategic approach that would lead to upper quartile or higher performances for both Canaan and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.  The initial steps taken were to set a standard for analysis and potential return metrics for early Canaan investments and simultaneously begin the recruiting process.  The initial metrics involved a thorough understanding of later stage clinical trials data and the resources necessary to finish such programs through a critical financial inflection point.  At the same time, Dr. Rudnick hired the first of the Kauffman fellows who joined Canaan, Brent Ahrens,  to codevelop a program that would go beyond his areas of expertise and involve devices as well as drugs.  The strategic underpinnings of the investments were based on market metrics that would support new entrants, time to market, technical and regulatory risks that would be faced and the ability to obtain world class expert input into each analysis.  The initial investments in Esperion, Pozen, Dexcom and Immunicon were all marked by the same thorough approach and very successful near term results with average initial returns exceeding a 50% IRR rate and a multiple of three or more for most investors.  The subsequent decade at the firm was marked by Dr. Rudnick leading or assisting in more than 20 further investments and taking board guidance positions in the majority of those investments.  Dr. Rudnick also recruited and mentored the two other current partners at Canaan, Dr. Stephen Bloch and Ms. Wende Hutton.  They were added to the team to bring additional insights into medicine and markets that has allowed the team to prosper in a difficult investing environment.


Dr. Rudnick’s comprehensive experience bringing new medicines to fruition provided this invaluable perspective to Canaan. He worked hand-in-hand with innovative companies to mentor management, and to develop and market new drugs to help cure significant diseases. He has been one of the few venture capitalists who is invited to sit in or chair the scientific advisory board to some of these companies with his most recent involvement in such a role at Chimerix.  Since he joined the firm in 1998, Seth led investments in over 20 companies including Chimerix, developer of orally-available, highly potent antiviral drugs for life threatening diseases such as smallpox and HIV; CombinatoRx, a pioneer in the field of synergistic combination pharmaceuticals (CRXX); Esperion, a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease; Immunicon, developer of proprietary cell- and molecular-based human diagnostic products (IMMC); Liquidia Technologies a nanotechnology company that designs and manufactures precisely engineered particles and films for life and material science applications; Pozen, a pharmaceutical company developing therapeutic advancements for treatment of acute migraine (POZN); and VaxInnate, a biopharmaceuticals company that is developing novel vaccines for pandemic and seasonal influenza.


Prior to Canaan, Seth led many drug discovery and development projects, gaining deep operational experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He served as CEO and Chairman of CytoTherapeutics (CTII), a company developing stem cell-based therapies to combat chronic diseases, and also helped start and headed R&D for Ortho Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson that provides life-improving products to individuals with chronic illnesses. At Ortho Biotech, Seth was instrumental in creating a portfolio of products that still provide significant Johnson & Johnson revenue today. Seth began his career at Schering-Plough, a global science-based healthcare company, leading clinical trials, and also directed pharmaceutical development efforts at Biogen.


Subsequent to his retirement from Canaan in 2013, Dr. Rudnick has continued an active involvement in several biotech companies, two of which he has been involved in from their inception.  Seth chaired Liquidia Technologies for the better part of a decade and has worked closely with the CEO and staff to develop a successful spin off strategy for some of the corporate assets and the specific development of a potentially novel form of a drug for PAH.  He has also been both executive chair and chair of G1Therapeutics.  G1 is pursuing a novel application of CDk4/6 inhibition pioneered by the current head of the NCI.  The drug is currently awaiting approval at FDA.  


Seth was a Yale fellow in medical oncology where he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar. He received his medical training at Washington University Barnes Hospital. He earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia and holds a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, Seth was named to the Midas List, a prominent venture capital ranking of the best dealmakers in technology and life science. He is currently a Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, teaching and advising faculty members on biotechnology issues.

He continues on the boards of both Liquidia and G1 and is an advisor to Hatteras Venture Partners and Correlation ventures.