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Safeguard Scientifics consolidates life science, tech portfolio management

The managing director of Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE) life sciences portfolio, Jim Datin, has taken over management of the technology portfolio in what was described as a strategic move by the venture capital firm reflecting the acceleration of health IT and medical devices with technology components. Kevin Kemmerer, who led the firm’s technology portfolio, resigned, effective immediately according to an SEC filing dated October 24.

It was agreed that the resignation will be treated as having been for “good reason,” as defined in Kemmerer’s agreement with the company dated December 29, 2008, the statement said.

Despite the resignation Kemmerer’s LinkedIn status as of Wednesday afternoon showed that he presently works at Safeguard.

In a conference call for the company’s quarterly earnings, when asked about Kemmerer’s resignation, Peter Boni, the CEO, said: “Success breeds success so we’re building on success. We’re recognizing that integration is a trend that is accelerating (between life sciences and technology) and we’re acknowledging that a combination of our deal teams has benefits for us. There’s no change in our overall strategy.”

Revenues for Safeguard’s technology portfolio significantly outweigh its life sciences investments. In 20111 its projected revenues from its technology portfolio ranges from $155 million to $160 million compared with $20 million to $22 million on the life sciences side, reflecting the time it can take for products to work their way through the regulatory pipeline.

Health IT has become an increasingly popular sector for investment for companies seeking to reduce the risk of investing in therapeutics that take longer to get to market.

Among Safeguard’s life science portfolio companies are NuPathe (NASDAQ: PATH) and Tenglon (NASDAQ: TNGN), NovaSom, Good Start Genetics, Alvarix and PixelOptics, a medical technology company that developed and has begun to commercialize emPower!, the world’s first and only electronically focusing prescription eyewear.

Earlier this year Safeguard sold partner companies Advanced BioHealing to Shire, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals to Eli Lilly, Clarient to GE Healthcare and Portico Systems to McKesson.

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing