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John McKearn, Ph.D., Promoted to Managing Director of RiverVest Venture Partners

ST. LOUIS, May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- RiverVest Venture Partners®, a venture capital firm investing in emerging medical technology and biopharmaceutical companies, today announced that John McKearn, Ph.D., has been promoted to Managing Director.  

Dr. McKearn joined RiverVest as Venture Partner in 2008, bringing extensive scientific and operational expertise in pharmaceutical research and development as former president and CEO of Kalypsys, Inc.; head of discovery research for Pharmacia and Searle; and senior scientist with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company.

"John has been a valuable addition to the RiverVest team and we are pleased to promote him," said Jay Schmelter, RiverVest Managing Director. "His deep knowledge of pharmaceutical research and development is instrumental in enhancing the drug development programs of our portfolio companies and securing important venture capital financing opportunities."

Most recently, Dr. McKearn helped originate and structure a $38.5 million Series B financing for Otonomy, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel drug therapies for disorders of the inner and middle ear. The deal, which closed in August 2010, was co-led by Novo Ventures and RiverVest Venture Partners, and joined by TPG Biotech, Domain Associates and Avalon.

"This is an exciting time for RiverVest," said Dr. McKearn. "As a team, we are uniquely positioned in a marketplace that has been defined in recent years as harsh, frenetic and out of balance. We continue to leverage our deep operating experience to attract and shape promising biopharmaceutical opportunities and build value for our portfolio companies."  

Dr. McKearn holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for Otonomy, Inc., and has served on the boards of IDM Pharma, Inc. (acquired by Takeda), Epimmune and Keel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Dr. McKearn holds more than 50 patents and numerous patent applications, primarily in the areas of cancer treatment and inflammatory disease.

About RiverVest Venture Partners

RiverVest is a venture capital firm focused on identifying and shaping early-stage life science companies to create significant shareholder value. With hands-on, high-level expertise and financial resources, RiverVest supports entrepreneurs by helping them achieve near-term objectives that position their companies for exit. For more information, please visit

SOURCE RiverVest Venture Partners
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