Rockhill Partners

Rockhill Partners

Rockhill Partners is an early-stage venture capital partnership. The firm invests in companies in the life science and technology sectors throughout the U.S. One of its companies, LightSpeed Genomics, is involved in the race to decode the human genome faster and more economically than ever before.

Portfolio companies

Rockhill's first investment was Proteon Therapeutics. Proteon's core technology was created by Dr. F. Nicholas Franano while at Johns Hopkins University.

Rockhill's second investment, LightSpeed Genomics, is based on technology created at MIT. According to In Sequence, a publication which covers the race to decode the human genome, "LightSpeed Genomics, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is developing a high-speed DNA sequencing platform that 'will allow human genome sequencing to be performed more quickly and less expensively than ever before,' according to the company’s website...LightSpeed founder and CEO Josh (Jekwan) Ryu told In Sequence...that the company is currently in stealth mode and not yet ready to talk about its plans. Ryu, who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a former Affymetrix staff scientist with 3 patents (US2005/0239113, US2005/0239114, US2005/0239115). Stanley Hong, a former colleague of Ryu from MIT, is a co-founder and chief technology officer of the company...Formerly called Solametrix, LightSpeed Genomics received an undisclosed amount of funding from Rockhill Partners and other angel investors in March 2007.

Professor George Church of Harvard University chairs LightSpeed's scientific advisory board. With Nobel prize winner Walter Gilbert, Church developed the first direct genomic sequencing method and helped initiate the Human Genome Project, both in 1984. Church and a team are currently competing in the Archon X-Prize Competition. To win the $10 million genomics prize purse, teams must successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome.

Rockhill's third publicly disclosed investment, Orbis Biosciences, was formed around technology created at the University of Illinois. Details about the company remain sketchy.


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