The Los Angeles-based firm has raised $320 million to incubate and invest in early-stage life sciences companies — Seidenberg’s specialty.
A spokesperson for Westlake Village confirmed to TechCrunch this morning that she is in the process of “transitioning” out of Kleiner Perkins.
Seidenberg has been one of the most prominent female partners at the firm, as well as a leading biotech investor in Silicon Valley. She has incubated and served on the boards of 3-V Biosciences, Atara, Breathe Technologies, Epizyme, ExpansionRx, FLX, Hixme, Kinsa and more, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Kleiner Perkins COO Scott Ryles has also joined Westlake Village as its COO. And in January, Sean Harper, executive vice president and head of R&D at Amgen, will join the firm. Seidenberg previously served as the chief medical officer and head of global development at Amgen.
“This was the ideal time – both in my role at Kleiner Perkins and given the explosive growth of breakthroughs in science and medicine – to pursue my passion for life sciences and launch a fund with such an exceptional team with whom I’ve worked closely in prior roles,” Seidenberg said in a statement. “Sean and I have known each other for more than 20 years and bring unique insights and expertise from our time in the drug discovery and development industry, providing the perfect shared history upon which to build Westlake.”
We don’t know for sure what spurred her exit, but it’s likely she wanted the freedom to close more deals in the life sciences sector. Big-name VC firms like Kleiner have established rules around how many investments a partner can make in a given year, which can be limiting for an investor like Seidenberg. On top of that, global VC investment in biotech is off the rails this year, with roughly $11 billion invested so far in 2018, according to PitchBook.
Seidenberg is not the first Kleiner Perkins investor to part ways with the firm in favor of managing their own fund. Both Aileen Lee and Trae Vassallo have kicked off their own efforts in recent years. Lee with Cowboy Ventures and Vassallo with Defy Ventures.