Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Vor Biopharma, an oncology company working with engineered haematopoietic stem cells for cancer treatment, has named Nathan Jorgensen its first CFO.
Jorgensen, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, brings over 10 years of experience in finance and life sciences. He worked previously for the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Calamos Investments and Stifel Nicolaus.
"Nathan is a rare combination of financial analyst and scientist, and brings these valuable skills to Vor at an important time in our development," Vor President and CEO Robert Ang said. "In this leadership role, he will work with us to execute on our financing strategy, allowing us to grow our team and advance our lead programs, while deepening our scientific platform and pipeline."
"I look forward to working with the team to explore potential financing opportunities to advance our science and bring [Vor's] lead therapy closer to helping patients with blood cancers," Jorgensen said in the release.
Despite his numerous accolades, Jorgensen is nonetheless apprehensive about his first few weeks on the job, working entirely remotely.
"It's difficult to get set up when you're working from home, and you can't just go out and get what you need, or access IT," Jorgensen told CFO Dive on Tuesday. "Coming into an organization, you need to introduce yourself, and learn the organization as quickly as possible."
At QIA, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, Jorgensen invested across the corporate structure and across industries. "I saw how structures and finance work in Asia versus in the U.S., and I got a sense of capital structure across the organization."
As CFO, Jorgensen intends to make leadership through support his ethos. "I'm here to help, and be a resource to you," he said. "I'm not here to box you in. We win when you win, so help me help you achieve your goals."
Jorgensen believes his scientific background will add to his capabilities as CFO.
"Obviously there's a lot to get up to speed on in a biotech organization," he said. "And these organizations are science-driven, so having a science background helps me communicate with the R&D teams."
His skills will also come in handy when it comes to raising capital, he said. "Because the main investors of early biotech companies usually are digging deep into the science, someone has to be able to communicate with them about the company’s scientific progress in an effective way. I think that’s where my background comes in."
Jorgensen believes the pandemic will complicate his duties as CFO, largely because the capital marketplace has become so uncertain.
"When you talk to banks and to people about capitalization, it used to be about 12 months of cash run. Now, people want 18 months or more, because there’s so much uncertainty in the markets. This amount of uncertainty makes you rethink how you want to capitalize yourself. Take this all off the table to raise more funds now."
Prior to joining QIA, he led investments in therapeutics at Calamos, a growth-focused public equity investment firm with $25 billion of assets under management. Before joining Calamos, Jorgensen covered mid- and large-cap biotech companies at the investment bank Stifel Nicolaus.
Prior to working on Wall Street, Jorgensen investigated the pathobiology of Parkinson’s Disease at the Columbia University Medical Center as a post-doctoral scientist. He also holds an MBA from Cornell.