Zurich / New York, 17 December 2019 – The first two grants for scientific research that could help develop new therapies against cancer have been funded through a unique collaboration between UBS Global Wealth Management, healthcare investment firm MPM Capital, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
In 2016, the UBS Oncology Impact Fund raised a record USD 471 million1 in wealth management clients' money outside the US for impact investment opportunities in oncology, identified and managed by Boston bioventure firm MPM Capital. As a result of its initial activities, the Fund has donated approximately USD 2.8 million in total, half to the UBS Optimus Foundation and half to the American Association for Cancer Research.
The first recipient of a grant of USD 400,000, Sahand Hormoz, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will study how genetic alterations in certain stem cells disrupt normal blood development, which can cause a type of cancer. The findings from his study are likely to improve our understanding of how such cancers form, which could lead to better therapies.
At the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Liron Bar-Peled, PhD, will use the second grant of the same amount to understand how metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells can be targeted to develop therapeutic strategies, hopefully laying the foundation for what could become a more powerful way of fighting cancer.
Tom Naratil, President of UBS Americas and Co-President of UBS Global Wealth Management, said: "We are thankful and excited that through our innovative collaboration with MPM Capital and the AACR, we can now fund ground-breaking research projects that could lead to new therapies against cancer. We hope the UBS Oncology Impact Fund will become a case study of how private investments in healthcare can be a valuable part of our clients' portfolios while having a profound societal benefit at the same time."
Each project was granted over a two-year period and selected by the AACR and MPM Capital through a review process chaired by MIT Nobel Laureate H. Robert Horvitz, PhD, an advisor to MPM Capital. Proposed research must represent an innovative approach to a major problem or challenge in cancer research that may not be funded through conventional channels.
"Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and there is a vital need for high-impact, transformative research that will markedly reduce the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of this devastating disease," said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), Chief Executive Officer of the AACR. "The AACR is delighted to partner with UBS and MPM Capital in support of early-career and mid-career scientists whose exciting research holds promise for catalyzing paradigm-shifting advances in cancer research that will result in breakthroughs in cancer treatment."
"It is gratifying to see the efforts from our collaboration with UBS and the AACR supporting such important science," added Christiana Bardon, MD, MBA, Managing Director of the UBS Oncology Impact Fund (OIF) and Trustee of the AACR Foundation. "These competitive grants are funding groundbreaking research programs that have incredible potential to transform how we treat cancer.”
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