The Boston venture capital firm Polaris Partners has hired Amy Schulman, who recently stepped down as general counsel of the drug giant Pfizer Inc., as a venture partner working with early-stage companies in the Polaris health care and life sciences portfolio.
Schulman, 53, is moving from New York to the Boston area. She will serve on the boards of several portfolio companies and as chief executive of a Polaris-based startup, Arsia Therapeutics of Cambridge, cofounded in April by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Robert Langer and Polaris partner Alan Crane.
Schulman will also teach part time as a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.
After working in Big Pharma, the entrepreneurial world will be a welcome change, Schulman said. “The dynamism, the accountability, the speed of decision making was very seductive to me,” she said.
Schulman will be the first female partner at Polaris, which has offices in the Seaport district and in Waltham, San Francisco, and Dublin. Only about 4 percent of senior partners at US venture firms are women, according to a Fortune magazine analysis earlier this year.
The dearth of women is “something you can’t help but notice when you look at the numbers,” Schulman said. “The commitment I have to women and promoting women and diversity in the workplace [is] very well established and it’s shared by Polaris.”
Schulman, who also served as business unit lead for Pfizer’s consumer health care group, said she was excited to be working with the team at Polaris and in the booming Boston-area life sciences industry.
“Luckily, I’m not a Yankees fan, so rooting for the Red Sox won’t be hard for me,” she said.