Altium Capital: Titans of Biotechnology Investing Reunite

Back in the late 90’s biotechnology was something new. On Wall Street, it was considered the next big thing. Investors were anxious to find excellent opportunities to grow their money by investing in these stocks. Anyone who could lead them to the proverbial golden goose was considered a guru. One such renowned expert was Dr. Stuart Weisbrod.

Weisbrod co-founded Merlin BioMed in 1998. The firm specialized in investing in biotechnology and healthcare companies. What is unique about Weisbrod is his education and career credentials. His CV made him unquestionably qualified to identify up and coming companies in the field of biotechnology.

Weisbrod had completed his BS in chemistry, his Ph.D. in biochemistry, and to round things out, he also attained an MBA in finance. He then put his education to good use working at some of the top investment firms in America: Oracle Partners, Harpel, Merrill Lynch, and finally Prudential-Bache. Along the way, he was able to make connections which he later used to his advantage in building his team at Merlin.

One of Weisbrod’s top producers at Merlin was Jacob Gottlieb. Gottlieb was a portfolio manager at Merlin. At the apex of the biotech revolution, Gottlieb was a heavy hitter. In 1999 and 2000 he managed to yield 100% returns for Merlin’s clients. Those results drew in even more business to the firm. Everyone wanted Merlin to manage their biotech investments. Although the firm was hugely successful, Dr. Weisbrod decided to unwind the business.

After dissolving Merlin, Weisbrod began a new venture. He named it Iguana after the tropical lizard. The focus of Iguana was the same as it had been at Merlin, publically traded companies in the biotech and healthcare industries.

Like his former boss, Gottlieb was busy investing $300 million starting a new endeavor. He named it Vision Asset Management. After a few years, the firm had grown to manage $8 billion, had 200 employees, with offices in New York, London, and San Francisco. However, an SEC insider trading investigation against three of his executives led him to shut the firm at the height of its success. The regulators did not implicate Gottlieb in the case.

Considering his next move, Gottlieb has reunited with Weisbrod after two decades. Their new company is Altium Capital. The two men are 20 years wiser and no doubt just as capable of spotting good investments in biotech and healthcare.