KAI Pharmaceuticals Inc. turned an undesirable side effect in an unsuccessful program into a lead candidate that led to a $315 million acquisition by Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) - and a 5x return for venture investors.

VCs had put $63 million into the company since 2002, and KAI received more than $100 million from partnerships. Most of the latter was tied to a protein kinase C (PKC) program licensed first to Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. (Tokyo:4568; Osaka:4568) and then