David Sandak, vice president of research at Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, moderated a panel on the topic of non-profit direct investment at the Life Science Nation's Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference in Boston, MA on September 17th.
Non-profit direct investment is a relatively new concept. In the past, non-profit organizations dedicated to research in specific disease areas were typically unable to take advantage of the upside of any significant discoveries that were funded through their organization. Recently, a new trend has emerged: non-profit organizations investing in early stage biotech/medtech companies in return for equity. This new way of investing involves grants structured as mission-investments, providing a return that is reinvested in new drug research.
The panel of disease research foundation executives included:
Howard Fillit, Executive Director and Chief Science Officer, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Fund
Benjamin Seckler, Founder and President, Charley’s Fund
Salvatore La Rosa, President & CSO, Children’s Tumor Foundation
Keting Chu, VP, Research TAP, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
RESI attendees included angel investors seeking high-risk, high-return early stage opportunities, foundations hoping to advance breakthroughs to improve patient care, family offices seeking long-term, high-impact investment opportunities, and the corporate development staff from pharma and large medical-device companies looking externally to fill gaps in their pipelines.