Local Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – Garheng Kong, a holder of a medical degree and one of the best known venture capitalists in the southeast, is leaving

Kong is joining a firm in California, but he did not disclose any specifics.

Rick Kent, a part-time venture partner at Intersouth and a former chief executive officer at biotech firm Serenex, will replace Kong. He becomes a general partner.

The changes were announced by Intersouth on Friday.

“Garheng is leaving to join another firm in California,” Intersouth’s Suzanne Cantando told Local Tech Wire and WRAL.com. “It’s a unique opportunity for him to return home, where his family lives.”

Cantando said Kong “wants to announce” his new employer “in his own time and way.” She added that the family of Kong’s wife also plans to move to California.

‘We’re sad to see him go,” Cantando added.

Kent also has experience in the medical field.

“We are very excited that Rick will be working full time with our portfolio – his medical background, coupled with his extensive industry experience and his time spent as CEO of Serenex gives him a very unique perspective in working with growth-stage companies,” Cantando said.

Kent is a cardiologist. He led Serenex, an Intersouth portfolio company, that was acquired by Pfizer in 2008. Over an 18-year medical career, he served at one time as chief medical officer at GlaxoSmithKline. He has worked with Intersouth since 2008.

“We’re very fortunate to have Rick on our team,” said Mitch Mumma, general partner at Intersouth, in a statement.

“Having managed and sold a venture-backed company, he understands the range of complex challenges that entrepreneurs face. And, with his technical background, he is intimately acquainted with the specific issues that early-stage companies must address in order to be successful. We’re thrilled to deepen our relationship with him in this way.”

Kong joined Intersouth in 2000. He is a graduate of Duke University.

“[Garheng] joined us while he was still in graduate school and we’ve had the opportunity to watch his career develop over that period of time,” said Dennis Dougherty, Intersouth’s founder, said. “We appreciate the contributions he’s made – he’s a special guy and we wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

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