Cancer is the cause of hundreds and thousands of deaths each year. Far too many people know what it feels like to be at the mercy of the illness, whether it be facing it personally or having a loved one diagnosed with the disease. Luckily, there are many ways to combat cancer: raising awareness, donating to charities, creating novel therapeutics, etc. The fight to cure cancer is a challenging one and requires evaluating many strategies to accomplish the ultimate objective. BrightEdge Fund offers a creative approach for advancing oncology research by investing money, donated to the American Cancer Society (ACS), to for-profit companies dedicated to helping those with cancer.
Whereas other prominent health-centric venture funds are solely focused on garnering financial returns, BrightEdge Fund exists with one goal in mind; improve outcomes for cancer patients. BrightEdge Fund’s returns are reinvested to create a sustainable stream of capital to fund American Cancer Society’s battle against cancer. Medicine has advanced tremendously over the past 100 years curing a multitude of illnesses including smallpox, polio, measles, and rubella. It may seem as though cancer would have been solved by now, but its unique way of attacking the body has made it more challenging to treat. For example, cancer is highly diverse between individuals, so it is unlikely we will one day have a singular cure. The good news is there could be multiple cures for different types of cancer. Advancement in therapeutics, which have become much more effective while having fewer toxic effects, are an encouraging sign for making cancer cures.
BrightEdge has been investing in startups since 1946 at the forefront of this research including notable companies Interius and freenome, who specializes in Car T cell therapy and liquid biopsy respectively. Car T cell therapy is a leading edge immunotherapy that requires extracting the patient’s T cells and altering them to become more adept at targeting cancer. Liquid biopsy is a revolutionary technique used for early cancer screening and identifying mutations present in a patient’s tumor using only a blood sample. Together these companies help to detect and eliminate cancer.
If the fight against cancer was compared to a car, BrightEdge Fund can be thought of as the fuel and the steering wheel. The fund’s investments act as the fuel pushing forward the development of novel treatments while the selective investment toward innovative therapeutics is the steering wheel causing the car to maintain course toward the goal of creating cures for cancer.
Biotech venture funds are funded by high net worth individuals and organizations that are focused on financial returns, which narrows their focus to investing in products that will yield high returns rather than high impact. BrightEdge Fund is funded by the ACS granting them a unique mission-centric approach, which allows them to invest in companies that will shape the future of cancer treatments without the restriction of worrying solely about a balance sheet or income statement. To date, BrightEdge Fund has invested $4.8 billion to research producing 49 Nobel laureates and leading to a 27% decline in mortality rate. The future of cancer research is bright thanks in part to the efforts of BrightEdge Fund.