Paul Walker

Partner, Co-Head of Healthcare

Paul joined NEA in 2008 and is currently a Partner and co-head of the firm’s healthcare investing practice, focused on later-stage life sciences investments. Prior to joining NEA, Paul worked at MPM Capital as a General Partner with the MPM BioEquities Fund, where he specialized in public, PIPE, and mezzanine-stage life sciences investing. Previously, he was a portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton. Paul received a BS in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

How did you become a biotech investor?

Mostly by accident. I studied biochemistry in college but had given up on it because its traditional career paths didn’t appeal to me. I liked finance, so I got a job at a mutual fund company, where they were launching a new biotech fund. The portfolio manager liked my background and took a chance on me as a trainee—that was 25 years ago!

How have you changed as a result?

Covering the public markets from the West Coast means I’m not a nighttime person anymore.

How would you describe NEA’s public market investing strategy?

It’s similar to our private investing strategy. We look to partner with great management teams who, despite being in charge of publicly traded companies, need a longer term view to appreciate their value. We try to look past near-term catalysts and calendar year returns and focus on extraordinary outcomes that take several years to develop.

Why does this long-term investment strategy appeal to you?

I’m a contrarian at heart, so I love the idea of partnering with companies who’ve had a setback but are still committed to seeing it through, or are jumping into overlooked areas that, with patient capital, have the potential to become big in the long term.