Joined CMEA: 2008
Years Experience Building Companies: 10
Education: Bachelor’s with Honors, Biological Sciences, Stanford University. Master’s, Biological Sciences, Stanford. Ph.D, Genetics, Harvard University
Board Seats: Biolight Harvesting, CNano Technology (Observer), Draths Corporation (Observer), Exela Pharma Sciences (Observer), Inventure Chemical, Wildcat Discovery Technologies (Observer)
Deal Starters: A CEO able to bridge the business and scientific sides and speak the scientist’s language
Non-starters: Making exaggerated claims about self and technology
Outside Activities: Sailing and flying
Michael Melnick has sailed rough waters, literally and figuratively. A skipper who races yachts, Michael has negotiated the choppy seas off New England and San Francisco. Those experiences fed the leadership skills and competitive drive he needs to succeed in the bumpy waters of venture capital.
Succeed, Michael has. Prior to joining CMEA, he co-founded Cell Signaling Technology, a spinout of New England Biolabs that develops drugs and tools to fight cancer. At Cell Signaling, Mike was responsible for sales, marketing and business development, during which time the company grew to 200 people and $50 million in annual sales.
Mike has left an indelible mark during his brief tenure at CMEA. He helped manage the deal with Draths Corporation, a pioneer in producing chemicals from renewable feedstocks. Chemicals currently made from petroleum represent far more valuable products than transportation fuel, and with oil prices likely to rise again the opportunity to make these chemicals instead from renewable feedstocks like sugar or amino acids is compelling for economic, environmental, and energy security reasons.
“The macro drivers are there in terms of the increasing importance of developing bio-based platforms for chemicals, materials, and fuels, and Draths has the first-class team and technology in organic chemistry, metabolic engineering, and catalysis” Michael said.