James Buxton, MD


James joined NEA in 2021 and is currently a Principal on the Healthcare team, focused on investments in the life sciences space. Prior to NEA, James held positions at SR One Capital Management, Morgan Stanley, and New Rhein Healthcare Investors. He began his career as first a physician and then a cardiothoracic surgeon. James received a BSc in surgical and medical sciences from University College London and an MD from University College London Medical School. As a Thouron Scholar, he then earned an MBA from The Wharton School.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to life sciences?

We’re in a golden age of biotechnology and medicine, yet there are still large patient groups lacking effective treatments to alleviate suffering and disease. What motivates me is being able to help find and fund cutting-edge science that can deliver these therapies to the patients who need it. I believe our portfolio companies are making groundbreaking scientific progress day in and day out. It’s exciting to be a small part of that.

What’s something exciting you’re seeing in this sector?

The volume and complexity of biological data being produced is expanding rapidly, while at the same time the cost of acquiring and processing this data is coming down. This trend has the potential to reverse the declining R&D productivity we’ve seen for decades now. We’re already seeing the availability of these data sets leading to the creation of new discoveries and companies across different spaces and modalities.

What matters most in the process of building a company?

Resilience. Company-building is never “up and to the right.” Something will go wrong along the way—maybe even multiple times. Dealing with, processing, and emerging from adversity are some of the most important steps of the company-building process.

How should a founder think about the relationship they’ll have with a potential investor?

I think the most important question they should ask themselves is, is this someone I want around the table when something goes awry? Building biotech companies and developing drugs are hard. Something will go wrong at some point—it's an inevitable part of the journey. Reaction to hardship and strength of character both become important during the tough times.

What makes NEA a valuable partner?

NEA has decades of experience in healthcare and life sciences investing. We’ve been through many economic cycles, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies, and we’ve generated a wealth of experience to draw from and support founders with, through ups and downs as patient capital/partners.

What’s been the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

Don’t hesitate to step back from the daily bombardment of emails, notifications, and Slack messages to find some time to try to think deeply. Give your System 2 some space.

Countries visited
Miles driven from London to Ulaanbaatar in the Mongol Rally, in the name of charity
Holes in one