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Financing Biomedical Research

Since I commented briefly on the pseudo-science of the anti-vaccine folks Sunday, I thought I would stay on a biomedical kick today, and perhaps tomorrow. Though the subject of today's post is, aside from the applicability of that broad label, very different from Sunday's. As for tomorrow ... tomorrow only knows.

Today, I'm looking at an article by Jose-Maria Fernandez, Roger M. Stein, and Andrew W. Lo, "Commercializing Biomedical Research Through Securitization Techniques." You can access it here.  
The idea is that biomedical innovation is getting more expensive and riskier. Upon whom shall that risk fall? Well, securitization is the obvious method of spreading the risk around, although the word "securitization" acquired rather a bad odor from its connection with the pre-2007 housing market.
Anyway, the authors are undaunted by that odor. They propose securitizing megafunds of $5 to $15 billion that could yield a floor of 8.9% for equity investors.
The debt holders, holding something the authors dub "research backed obligations," would make less than the equity holders, as is typical. Still, they would get between 5% and 8% according to a "simulation using historical data for new molecular entities in oncology from 1990 to 2011."
The beaming fellow above is Andrew Lo. I tried to copy the author's diagram of the waterfall/schematic for their proposed structure, but somehow it wouldn't paste onto here.
I wish them well, of course. Anything that gets market-oriented funding to real scientists weakens the pseudo sort.
Go, Lo!



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