How pension funds could turn drugs bottleneck into breakthroughs



Did you know that about 20 years’ worth of new experimental drugs that could treat cancer as well as other life-threatening diseases, are stuck in laboratories waiting to be tested? Although researchers are making significant progress in the fight against the over 200 types of cancer that touch so many of our lives, alleviating this bottleneck and discovering the potential of these drugs requires raising million-dollar funds. So how can this progress be accelerated?

After his father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, financial engineer Roger Stein began working on an innovative financial model that would not only raise enough funds for the hundreds of trials needed, but also generate returns for investors. Talking at a TED conference, Roger revealed how he and his research co-authors began by thinking of the experimental drugs as risky financial assets – risky because the vast majority of them would not survive the extensive and expensive clinical trial processes – instead of pharmaceutical items.

Together they worked out that, with around 80 to 150 drugs and a fund of between 3 and 15 billion dollars, they could create a viable financial structure. The most promising drugs would become more valuable as they passed through each stage of the trial process, offering an attractive financial return for pension funds and similar investors.

Perhaps one day in the not too distant future we could see some of the 100 trillion dollars of capital invested in pension funds directly supporting life-saving research.

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The week of 16-19 May 2016 was an important week for girls and women throughout the world with the hosting Women Deliver's 4th Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was also a milestone for our Motherhood Projects which incorporate the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality (AMHE), Safe Motherhood Week (SMW) and the Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative (PMI).

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