Mark Levin likes to tell the story of how his Newbury Street venture capital firm, Third Rock Ventures, was born at a blackjack table in Las Vegas. He was playing at the Bellagio with two friends from his days as chief executive of Millennium Pharmaceuticals. All three were lamenting the timidity of pharmaceutical and venture capital firms when it came to putting money behind risky, but potentially high-impact scientific breakthroughs.
“What we were discussing was who would come along to fill that hole,” Levin says. “We all said, this is an interesting time to go out and grow great companies from the beginning.”