From cell biology to healthcare startup venture capital
Kouki began working in healthcare 20 years ago. His first clinical research position was in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, an American academic medical centre based in Ohio. Kouki’s first lab research position was at the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute within the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of his personal highlights is being at the NIH when it was announced that the Human Genome Project was completed.
Kouki went on to graduate from Cornell University with a double major in Molecular/Cell Biology and Asian Studies. After Kouki completed his PhD in Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, he took up a Research Investigator position at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. After three years at Novartis, Kouki pursued an MBA at Harvard before returning to Novartis to hold positions in strategy, finance, and business development.
In 2014, Kouki left Novartis for Baxter which, at the time, was preparing to spin off its biopharma division into what became Baxalta. When Shire announced that it was buying Baxalta for $32B in 2016, Kouki left to become a Blavatnik Fellow at Harvard Business School. This was a healthcare entrepreneur-in-residence fellowship funded by multi-billionaire Len Blavatnik. As a Blavatnik Fellow, Kouki ran Medal, a medical data machine learning startup as COO for two years.
Kouki joined the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in early 2018 as a Partner. He now spends his time working with healthcare startups that range from digital health to therapeutics.
Kouki says: “Biotechnology YES played an important part in my career choices. By good fortune, I’ve always been surrounded by innovative biomedical technologies. Competing in and winning the Biotechnology YES competition cemented my decision to pursue an MBA rather than an MD after my PhD.”