His companies have created outstanding financial returns by delivering extreme innovation to solve needs in discovery of new medicines, life science research and public health. For over two decades, he has also been interested in the psychological principles that underlie successful electronic games and is currently devoting substantial time to his role as Executive Chairman of Seriosity.
Alloy Ventures in Palo Alto, California (www.alloyventures.com) is an early-stage venture fund with over $1billion under management. Before joining the firm in 2001, Leighton spent 14 years as a biotechnology entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded Affymax NV, under the direction of Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni, setting the stage for two successful spin-outs: Affymetrix and Maxygen. He founded Aviron, a biotechnology company best known as the developer of FluMist™, the intranasal influenza vaccine, where he served as Chairman and CEO until 1999 and Director until its acquisition by MedImmune in 2002. While at Alloy, he funded a spin-out of Maxygen and served as the first CEO of Avidia, Inc, later acquired by Amgen.
Leighton received a B.S. from Rice University in Psychology and Biology (1973), an MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (1976) and completed internal medicine training at Duke and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston where he held appointments at the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health. His published research dealt with applications of decision theory in medicine, cost-effectiveness analysis and policy regarding medical innovation. Based on a long-standing interest in computer-aided decision-making, he produced a successful interactive PC game in 1984 to promote healthy lifestyles based on text-based adventure games and behavior modification principles. He is a director of a number of young companies in the fields of biotechnology, medical devices, nanotechnology, cleantech and software. He also serves as a trustee or director of The BeneTech Initiative, BioVentures for Global Health, The UC Berkeley Foundation and School of Public Health Council and the Santa Fe Institute. His awards include several as co-inventor of technology underlying the Affymetrix GeneChip™ and Ernst & Young’s California Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year.
Video: Shaping the Future of Work
Leighton talks at the Rice Alliance Information Technology & Web 2.0 Venturm Forum.
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