Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introducing Fixes in Financing: Novel R&D Funding Models

by Elizabeth West, Program Manager, FasterCures

If you could buy a revenue-securitized bond to fund cancer research, would you? What about financing a clinical trial for a rare disease through crowdfunding? Thanks to a growing field of disease-focused venture philanthropies and nonprofits, and the emergence of creative new models for financing medical research, these scenarios could soon be reality.

Here at FasterCures we have spent the last few years examining, tracking, and highlighting the innovative funding mechanisms that are accelerating medical progress. These include pre-competitive partnerships to de-risk research investment, methods of diversifying research portfolios, bridge funding, and government-backed ventures. To highlight these emerging models – including those that reflect the priorities of medical research finance 2.0 – we recently launched a new monthly series called Fixes in Financing: Novel R&D Funding Models. The series will depict financing structures that are active, launching, or conceptual, and analyze them using a uniform set of metrics that includes investment focus, stage of research, and return on investment (financial, societal, and hybrid returns).

Check out the inaugural case, Breakout Labs, a revolving fund that gives small grants to newly formed companies to fund ground-breaking ideas. And let us know if you have an original funding concept we can feature in the series by sending an email to Elizabeth West ( We’d love to hear your ideas from both within and beyond the biomedical research sector! 

Finance, especially creative finance, can be value-adding for research, not just another burden or obstacle between promising science and proven therapies.

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