Jim Tananbaum, MD

CEO & Managing Director

Jim Tananbaum is the founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has $2 billion under management. Jim assembles the people, ideas and money needed to launch products that save lives and improve healthcare. He is always looking for visionaries: women and men with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.

Since high school Jim has had two main loves: 1) mathematics, algorithms and machine learning and 2) biology, genetics and healthcare. Since founding Foresite Capital, Jim has been optimistic about the merger of these two previously very different fields.  His intent has been to place Foresite Capital, its resources and networks at the frontier of this data-driven revolution, and to help build transformative healthcare companies that will significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of the entire U.S. healthcare system.

As an undergraduate, Jim attended Yale College, where he graduated with a BS and BSEE in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science. He then attended the Harvard/MIT HST program and graduated with an MD from Harvard and an MS from MIT. He also earned an MBA from Harvard while playing rugby. The combination put him at the intersection of computer science, genetics and biology, and most of the companies he has since built or funded have grown out of insights generated from the overlap of these disciplines.

Jim’s first success came while he was still at Harvard when he co-founded GelTex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GENZ). For less than $80 million in funding, GelTex brought two drugs to market. The company was acquired in 1999 for $1.6 billion when its lead drug, Renagel (later renamed Renvela), had an annual revenue run rate exceeding $200 million. Decades later, Renvela  still has annual sales of about $1 billion.

Jim was the founding chief executive of Theravance, Inc., which has since split into two parts, one of which is now part of GSK’s respiratory franchise through a joint venture, Innoviva (NASDAQ: INVA), and the other was spun out into Theravance Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBPH). Together, they have a combined market capitalization that exceeds $3 billion.

Besides Foresite Capital, Jim’s investment experience includes being a founding partner of Prospect Venture Partners II and III, and earlier in his career, a partner of Sierra Ventures, where he helped establish its healthcare services investment practice.

Jim has led numerous investments, including 10X Genomics, Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AERI), Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AIMT), Amerigroup (NASDAQ: AMGP), Healtheon (NASDAQ: WBMD), Intarcia Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ), Puma Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PBYI).


  • Founded Foresite Capital in 2011.
  • Co-founded GelTex, which was acquired for $1.6 billion by Sanofi-Genzyme.
  • Co-founded Theravance, Inc., (Total Market Cap of $2.68B) which subsequently changed its name to Innoviva, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVA) and with its spin-off Theravance BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBPH), the companies have a combined market capitalization of $2.68 billion.
  • Earned BS and BSEE from Yale University in Applied Math and Computer Science and M.S. from MIT, MD and MBA from Harvard University.
  • Member of Yale’s University Council and the advisory committee of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.
  • Four-time Midas List honoree: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018