Alex Barkas, PhD


In Memoriam

Alex Barkas co-founded Prospect Venture Partners and served as a Managing Director of three Prospect funds. Alex had a major impact on the biotechnology industry, supporting many executives and entrepreneurs in launching and growing numerous successful biotechnology and medical device companies. Alex was widely respected as an industry leader, great friend and trusted partner to many. Beginning in 1991, Alex served as a Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. During this period, he was the founding CEO of several important biotechnology companies and also led successful investments in a number of biotechnology companies. In 1997, Alex co-founded Prospect Venture Partners, a venture capital firm dedicated exclusively to developing and commercializing innovative biomedical technologies and supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts to deliver products to patients.

Alex dedicated his career to the business of science and was recognized for his exceptional skill and talent in identifying new areas of scientific discovery, and his ability to found companies to develop and commercialize those discoveries. With a long track record of successfully partnering with entrepreneurs, Alex participated in the financing of over 50 biomedical companies together with his investment partners at Prospect. During his venture career, Alex served on the Board of Directors of numerous successful biotechnology companies including: Amicus (NASDAQ: FOLD), Archemix, Azelon Pharmaceuticals, Connetics (Stiefel Laboratories acquired), Complete Genomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNOM), Geron (NASDAQ: GERN), NeoMend, Novacept (NASDAQ: HOLX acquired), SurgRx (NYSE: JNJ acquired), Tercica, (Paris: IPN acquired), Topica Pharmaceuticals, Transave (NASDAQ: INSM acquired by AGN), and several other privately held companies. Alex also served as the founding CEO of Geron and of Connetics from their inception. For these start-up companies, Alex 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 boards, secure significant milestone-driven venture financing and recruit experienced senior executive management teams, helping lead them to become important public companies. 

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. Alex received a Ph.D. in Biology from New York University and a B.A. in Biology from Brandeis University, where he later served as Chairman of the University Science Advisory Council and on the Board of Trustees (2001-2011). Previously, Alex was a founder and CEO of BioBridge Associates, a health care industry consulting firm.

Alex is remembered as a loving husband and father. He was exceptionally generous, caring and compassionate. While he had children later in life, his world revolved around them. Alex was supportive, genuine, and passionate about his work and the people around him. He encouraged excellence and led by example, deeply admired and respected by all who had the special privilege to know and work with him. 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. In nurturing those that he cared about the most, whether it was his family, friends, colleagues, entrepreneurs or his charitable interests, Alex brought passion, wisdom, sincerity and an unrivaled love of life. Alex leaves behind a legacy of hope and commitment to achieve greatness with kindness, care and perseverance. He will be remembered most for the many people whose lives he improved.