Third Rock Ventures names two as partners

Third Rock Ventures has named Dr. Christoph Lengauer and Dr. Jeffrey Tong as partners. Previously, both were venture partners at the Boston-based healthcare venture firm.


BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Third Rock Ventures LLC today announced that Christoph Lengauer, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Tong, Ph.D., have joined as partners. Both were previously venture partners at the firm.

To date, Third Rock has invested in or launched over 50 companies. The firm’s founding vision was based on an operating model rooted in a team-oriented philosophy, cultivated through group genius, and built for the long term. It is this approach that continues to fuel the team to discover, launch and build innovative companies all sharing a common goal of addressing significant medical needs through bold ideas and transformative science. With offices in Boston and San Francisco, Third Rock is a group that is constantly evolving and welcoming new ideas to be able to deliver on the metric that matters most: making a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

“Our discover, launch, build approach to creating companies is successful because of the efforts of our entire Third Rock team, which is comprised of individuals who bring not only science and business expertise, but a commitment to a collaborative, hands-on approach. We have been very impressed with the contributions Christoph and Jeff have made to date both at the firm and across our portfolio companies,” said Abbie Celniker, Ph.D., partner at Third Rock. “Christoph is an incredibly accomplished scientist and drug hunter and Jeff is a formidable company builder who integrates business and science strategy. These capabilities are critical as we work collectively to build sustainable companies with pipelines that deliver breakthrough medicines.”

“During my time in academia, pharma and biotech, I have always aimed to contribute to the discovery and development of diagnostics and medicines that impact patients’ lives,” said Dr. Lengauer. “I became fascinated by Third Rock’s strategy to discover, launch and build great companies, which is based on bold ideas that meet at the intersection of science, strategy, business and medicine. I am excited to further contribute to this effort because Third Rock’s framework provides an incredible opportunity to make a dramatic difference in patients’ lives.”

“I am very excited about this new opportunity at Third Rock. In my time with the firm to date, I have come to see that the team is unique in that it is comprised of company builders who are exceptional colleagues that thrive on collaborating with each other to create innovative and disruptive biotechnology companies,” said Dr. Tong. “It’s a great team, and our role is to provide the financial and human capital necessary to unlock early innovations. This is what we focus on at Third Rock, and if we do it well, we have the opportunity to enable a diverse spectrum of entrepreneurs, scientists and founders to make a positive impact for patients.”

Christoph Lengauer, Ph.D.
Dr. Lengauer joined Third Rock Ventures as a venture partner in 2016. In this role, he was a member of the founding advising team for Relay Therapeutics and served as the interim chief executive officer of Celsius Therapeutics. He has a proven record in cancer drug discovery, including contributing to the development of more than 20 drugs that reached first-in-human clinical trials and four FDA-approved medicines. Prior to joining Third Rock, Christoph was chief scientific officer and chief drug hunter at Blueprint Medicines. Christoph joined Blueprint Medicines from Sanofi, where he was vice president and global head of oncology drug discovery and preclinical development. Before joining Sanofi, he was executive director and senior unit head of oncology discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Prior to Novartis, Christoph was an associate professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He was involved in the identification of several cancer driver genes including BRAF and PIK3CA.

As part of his research, Christoph discovered that all cancers are genetically unstable, which explains the molecular heterogeneity of cancer and why cancers develop resistance to cancer drugs. He has authored more than 100 scientific articles published in top-tier scientific journals, including Cell, Nature and Science. Christoph studied human genetics in Salzburg, Austria, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He received his MBA with a focus on medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Christoph holds an adjunct associate professor position at Johns Hopkins University. He has received numerous awards, including the Boveri Award in Cancer Genetics, the Benjamin Baker Scholar award, Novartis Oncology’s President’s Award for Top Innovator and has been elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.

Jeffrey Tong, Ph.D.
Dr. Tong joined Third Rock in 2016. As a venture partner at the firm, Jeff served as the interim chief executive officer of portfolio company Ambys Medicines, launched in 2018 to focus on regenerative medicine for the liver. Jeff is currently a board member at Ambys, as well as Nurix Therapeutics. Prior to joining Third Rock, Jeff was executive chairman of the board of Delinia, a company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases that was acquired by Celgene. From 2010 to 2015, Jeff was the president and chief executive officer of Nora Therapeutics. Prior to that, he was a member of the founding management team at Infinity Pharmaceuticals where he led its corporate and product development activities. Over the course of his career, Jeff has raised significant capital from both equity markets and pharma partnerships, led teams from preclinical through Phase 3 development, and developed integrated science/business strategies for the building of innovative biotechnology companies. Earlier in his career, Jeff worked at McKinsey & Co. and was a founding researcher at the Harvard Bauer Center for Genomics Research. He received his educational training at the interface of molecular biology, organic chemistry and medicine and holds A.B. and M.M.S. degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, respectively, as well as A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.

About Third Rock Ventures
Third Rock Ventures is a leading healthcare venture firm focused on disruptive areas of science and medicine to discover, launch and build companies that make a dramatic difference in people’s lives. By combining our team’s scientific vision, strategic leadership, operational expertise and innovative deal-making capabilities, we nurture bold ideas that translate into successful business enterprises. Recognizing that the best way to create value for our investors is to create value for patients, our companies are built on a solid foundation of science, medicine, people and business strategy. For more information, please visit