Bro Bio: The Enigmatic and Mysterious Life of Dr. Scott Rocklage


The milestones achieved by Dr. Scott Rocklage prove to be an inspiration for many either in biochemical research or entrepreneurship. Rocklage Ph.D., is the current managing partner of 5AM Ventures where he started working in 2003. The Boston-based doctor has a wealth experience of close to 30 years in healthcare management. This, together with a wide scientific background, has strengthened his background. Coupled with his vast healthcare and scientific experience, and key roles in leadership, this background has established him as an effective strategic leader in the domain of healthcare, Venture Capital, and pharmaceuticals.

Apart from his management role at 5AM Ventures where he is a partner, the 61-year-old is also the current chairman of the Boards of Semprus, Relypsa, and Achaogen. The experienced doctor also serves on the Boards of Pulmatrix, WaveRx, and Variation and sits on the Whitehead Institute Board of Associates. Besides, he still chairs the Boards of Kinestral, Rennovia, and Cidara Therapeutics. Still, the list does not end there. To add to Dr. Rocklage’s long list of board leadership are Pulmatrix and Epirus.

He has served at Cubist Pharmaceuticals as Chairman and CEO, has been the President and CEO of Nycomed Salutar and has held other leadership positions as R&D of Catalytica and Salutar. The Doctor has previously chaired the Board of the now J&J-acquired Novira. Dr. Scoott M. Rocklage has also served as the Executive Chairman of Miikana and Ilypsa currently owned by EntreMed and Amgen respectively. Clearly, the extent of Dr. Rocklage’s leadership cannot be overemphasized.

Dr. Scott M. Rocklage further boasts of an impressive educational background which includes a University of California Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry. Dr. Rocklage studied for his Bachelor’s degree in Berkeley then later joined MIT. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked closely with 2005 Nobel Prize Winner, Richard R. Schrock. It is in Schrock’s laboratory that Dr. Rocklage conducted his research.

It is of almost no wonder then that Dr. Rocklage, a man of such education and vast experience in healthcare management succeeded in his strategic leadership responsibilities leading to the FDA approval of three New Drug Applications in the U.S. His exemplary leadership is therefore credited for the use of Cubicin®, Teslascan®, and Omniscan™. In addition, he is largely responsible for entering six other drug candidates into clinical tests. Also, he has invented and co-invented over 30 Patents in the U.S. Dr. Rocklage also has over 100 publications to his name. These publications are subject to peer review.

The company he currently manages, 5AM Ventures is named so because it is involved in the business of company formation which is seen as early stage and 5AM is definitely early in regard to time. 5AM Ventures LLC is a venture capital firm which is based on life science. Dr. Rocklage joined the company in 2003 as a Venture Partner and became the Managing Partner in 2004.His roles at the company involve studying new aspects of life science, liaising with Portfolio Company’s management team and preparing and attending Board meetings among others. He also works with entrepreneurs in the field of life science. These include such people as physicians, scientists, and business executives whom he helps to shape their ideas into potential drugs to meet emerging and previously unattended needs in the field of medicine.

Dr. Scott M. Rocklage’s strategic leadership skills have ensured that his company is the go-to Venture Capital company for those companies interested in life science. 5AM Ventures works in close collaboration with entities that are coming up with ways to solve the needs in the area of healthcare by using top-notch scientific and medicine advancements. Dr. Rocklage has embraced the use of modern techniques in diagnosing, preventing and treating a wide range of medical problems. The 5AM company, therefore, supports companies that use these untraditional techniques.

His leadership’s focus on selection has ensured that the company employs individuals with strong backgrounds in various fields such as law, finance, business operations, science, and medicine. This diversity of backgrounds is unique and necessary in the business of managing companies that work in life science. Dr. Rocklage has a philosophy of a hands-on approach to developing the companies while also providing them with the initial capital they require to grow. The company thus provides short-term management and operational activities for these businesses. This means that they serve as operations managers, board members and strategists for the businesses. Rocklage’s philosophy of being hands-on has propelled the company’s success in determining the best companies and opportunities for investment.

According to Dr. Rocklage, he is most excited by recent advancements in the treatment of cancer whereby scientists can target specific cancer mutations, or genotypes and cancer can now be treated in more than one way. He says that he is excited by the fact that lives are now being extended, if not saved, and therefore scientists will only improve the existing advancements. These are great expectations for the near future.

The doctor’s success so far has painted him as an extremely organized individual in relation to prioritization, management of time and calendaring. He also aims to emphasize more on people as a foundation for his projects. Dr. Rocklage believes that the selection process is crucial to the success of any company. He insists that greatest failures in entrepreneurship arise in the area of management as people sometimes like to think that performance appraisals and targets can change a person’s characteristics and hence performance. Instead, according to him, if a person is not performing as expected, you should move on.

He is also one for bravery; he is not afraid of taking measured risks. He is a firm believer that one’s success is not metered on the choice to work for Fortune 500 companies but on the decision to venture into entrepreneurship. In addition, he owes the success of his current company to focusing on what they do best and not neglecting their business strengths. This strategy has helped to keep the company afloat in tough times as opposed to resorting to easier means. Dr. Scott M. Rocklage calls the book Good to Great’ a timeless tome for understanding business and performance and credits Massachusetts Institute of Technology for giving him a foundation for his professional career and is particularly grateful to the Chemistry Department at MIT.

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