Forward Ups Chiu To Venture Partner –

SAN DIEGO – Less than 18 months after joining Forward Ventures as a senior associate, Han Chiu was named a venture partner at the life sciences and health care-focused firm.

Chiu, a former executive at Schering-Plough Corp. and Novartis Pharma AG, joined the firm in March 1998 as a senior associate and rapidly gained the confidence of the firm’s three other general partners.

“Han came to us with a significant amount of experience in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Standish Fleming, who along with Ivor Royston and Jeffrey Sollender form the firm’s management team.

More Responsibilities

Chiu’s promotion comes with the added responsibility of managing his own deals, Fleming said. The new venture partner already led the firm in a nearly $2 million June investment in Medicinenet.com, a health-care content site that is merging with a drugstore model. He is also finalizing a term sheet for Doctors Online Medical System, a physician portal site that the firm hopes will be complementary to existing on-line physician sites.

Chiu said that the portfolio companies with which he works can benefit from the experience he gained at Schering-Plough and Novartis. Pharmaceutical entrepreneurs often are reluctant to seek financing or advice from large corporations, but Chiu said he can now bring those attributes in a less intimidating venture capital setting.

Chiu will serve as Doctors Online’s chief executive and will fill a board seat.

The $42 million Forward Ventures III, with 12 portfolio companies, is about 70% invested. The vehicle, which invests $2.5 million to $3 million per portfolio company, will make about three more investments, Fleming said.

The firm will likely launch Fund IV sometime in the fall, he added.