Frank Karbe, Exelixis

May 31, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Executive



Frank Karbe
Chief Financial Officer, Exelixis

Prior to joining Exelixis, I was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, focusing on M&A and corporate finance. In my last three years at Goldman, I was part of the healthcare team in San Francisco. I spent the majority of my time with clients in the biotechnology industry, including Exelixis. I was especially excited about the opportunity to join the Exelixis team because I believe in the company's potential to innovate first- or best-in-class drugs, and to become a world-class biopharmaceutical company. Very few people, certainly at my age, get the opportunity to be part of an executive team that has a shot at building one of the leading companies in its industry.

Given that Exelixis has taken an unusual approach for a pre-commercial biotech, we have an uncommon appetite for capital. Over the past four years, Exelixis has raised close to $1 billion in new funding—a majority of which has come from nondilutive sources. We have complemented our leadership in drug discovery with leadership in raising capital and business development.

Scientific innovation will always be critical for success in the biotech and pharma industries. But there cannot be scientific progress without adequate funding, and this funding will not be available if our industry is not rewarded for its innovations.

Efforts to reform US healthcare policy must address the need to reward innovation; we have to ensure that biotech and pharma products—and the companies that make them—are seen as solutions to the healthcare challenges we face, not as the problem. Innovative strategies for financing clinical candidates, accessing capital, monetizing assets, and partnerships are all critical to "feeding the beast."