Jim Tananbaum, MD

Founder & CEO

Jim Tananbaum is the founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has approximately $3.5 billion in assets under management. Jim assembles the people, ideas and money needed to launch products that save lives and improve healthcare. He is always looking for visionary entrepreneurs with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.  

During the last three decades Jim has been a thought partner for some of the most impactful and fastest growth companies of their generation including: 10x Genomics (Nasdaq: TXG), Amerigroup (Nasdaq: ANTM), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ).

Since high school, Jim has had two main areas of interest: 1) mathematics and computer algorithms and 2) biology 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, where he graduated with a BS and BSEE in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science.  He then earned an MD from Harvard and graduated from the Harvard/MIT HST Program.  He also earned an MBA from Harvard while playing rugby.

Jim’s first success came while he was still at Harvard Business School 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 $1.4 billion when its lead drug, Renagel (later renamed Renvela), had an annual revenue run rate exceeding $19.5 million. Decades later, Renvela still has annual sales estimated over $850 million. Jim was the founding chief executive of Theravance, Inc. Under his tenure he raised over $350M. Theravance 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 achieved a market capitalization that exceeded $4 billion. 

Jim’s investment experience includes being a co-founder of Prospect Ventures and earlier in his career, a partner of Sierra Ventures, where he established its healthcare services investment practice.


  • Founded Foresite Capital in 2011.
  • Co-founded GelTex, which was acquired for $1.4 billion by Sanofi-Genzyme.
  • Co-founded Theravance, Inc., which subsequently changed its name to Innoviva, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVA) and with its spin-off Theravance BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBPH), the companies achieved a market capitalization that exceeded $4 billion.
  • Earned a BS and BSEE from Yale University in Applied Math and Computer Science, an MD and an MBA from Harvard, and graduated from the Harvard/MIT HST Program.
  • Member of Yale’s University Council and the advisory committee of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.
  • Five-time Midas List honoree: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021.