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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Daphne Zohar, 33

Spots promising biotech work and helps build new companies to commercialize it

PureTech Ventures

Daphne Zohar is a serial entrepreneur who is comfortable moving into almost any niche. She began by launching a successful olive oil brand. Then she pitched her patented “hoofpad”- basically, a sneaker fro racehorses- to veterinarians. Today she is forging biotech startups. The daughter of a Massachusetts General Hospital researcher, Zohar grew up around labs and has become good at recognizing commercial potential in lab work that night be otherwise unexplored. She is founder and CEO of Boston-based PureTech Ventures, which evaluates 15 ideas a week and chooses three each year to build businesses around. “Being an entrepreneur is like solving a puzzle with most of the pieces missing,” she says. PureTech’s stable includes companies making chips that rapidly analyze proteins, ultrasensitive antibodytests to screen blood banks for infectious agents, and nanoscale drug delivery systems targeting lymph nodes to treat cancer and HIV. Zohar’s team and advisors at PureTech include former Pharmacia and Upjohn CEO John Zabriskie and financier Todd Dagres of Battery Ventures, which manages $1.8 billion in capital. “I look for vision, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit,” Dagres says. “Daphne possesses all those traits.”

2003 TR35 Winners

Guillermo Ameer

Synthesized "biorubbers" that could replace damaged heart and lung tissue and rebuild blood vessels

Helene Andersson

Produces portable, inexpensive, microprocessor-size labs for research and industry

Sangeeta Bhatia

Uses microchip-manufacturing tools to build artificial livers

Alexis Borisy

Believes that combining different drugs could yield better ways to fight disease

Eugene Chan

Aims to speed genome sequencing with a machine that reads DNA letter by letter

Bassil Dahiyat

Designs proteins from scratch to create new medicine

Benjamin G. Davis

Manipulates biological sugars for more precise drug delivery

Christophe Echeverri

Develops fast, automated processes for figuring out genes functions

Michael E. Gertner

Set out to improve the tiny devices that keep once blocked arteries open

Jay Groves

Patented a lab-on-a-chip to investigate call proteins that cause diseases

Justin Hanes

Creates systems for delivering drugs to where theyre needed in the body

Andre Koltermann

Speeds protein evolution to improve detergents, medicines, and foods

Erin Lavik

Helped paralyzed rats walk again and aims to do the same for people

Xiangjun Liu

Maps gene variations that could warn of future disease

Anthony Lowman

Packs insulin into gel pills that could replace injections for diabetes patients

Gavin Macbeath

Unravels complex biological systems in his search for new drugs

Nimmi Ramanujam

Uses light to help make diagnosing breast cancer and cervical cancer faster, more accurate and less invasive

Shuvo Roy

Builds tiny machines that can warn of impending heart attack and monitor healing after surgery

Ram Samudrala

Wrote algorithms that can predict the functions of proteins from the sequence of a genome

Christophe Schilling

Transforms microbes into fine-tuned manufacturing machines

Mark Schnitzer

Sheds light on the functioning of individual brain cells

Mijail Serruya

Connects brains directly to computers int he hope of helping paralyzed people communicate and control robotic aids

Micah Siegel

Transforms research from universities and national labs into successful startups

Giovanni Traverso

Came up with a noninvasive alternative to colonoscopy

Rita Vanbever

Wants to make treating diabetes as easy as breathing

Ron Weiss

Programs living cells to sense toxins ot create replacement tissues

Jennifer West

Synthesizes blood vessels that could reduce the trauma of heart surgery

Daphne Zohar

Spots promising biotech work and helps build new companies to commercialize it


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