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BrightEdge hosts inaugural summit on cancer impact investing

ACS event brings together top voices in health care and investing.

The American Cancer Society BrightEdge team is hosting an inaugural summit on cancer impact investing this week in Cambridge, MA, Nov. 29 – 30. 

This first-of-its-kind, invitation-only event is designed to convene top voices in health care and investing to align around the potential of cancer impact investing and innovation and to grow the base of support for ACS BrightEdge. The program will serve as an introduction for many audiences to the ACS BrightEdge vision and its goal is to deepen relationships with existing partners and allies. Over time, these relationships will catalyze opportunities for future investment, partnership, and growth, said Alice Pomponio, BrightEdge vice president.

The summit includes collaboration between BrightEdge and the MIT Laboratory of Financial Engineering. It will be held in tandem with CanceRx, a standing conference that draws diverse participation across health care and life sciences to promote novel financing approaches to scientific discovery and development. Part of the summit has been designed to convene the existing CanceRx community with the emerging BrightEdge network and introduce the novel and timely topic of impact investing. Organizers expect more than 100 attendees to include leaders from venture capital, asset management, and health care corporations. Speakers represent a “who’s who” in the field of cancer science, innovation, and investment.

The event will also highlight ACS researchers, insights, BrightEdge portfolio companies, and celebrate ACS science and grantees. Targeted at a subset of CancerRx attendees as well as a wider audience of innovation stakeholders, specific events at the summit are designed to underscore the value of evidence-informed impact and intentional investment toward “3-D impact” (impact on science, on social issues, and that is sustainable). 

Key events during the three-day summit include:

  • Panel discussions on Environmental, Social, and Governance and impact investing and mission-oriented investment strategies (Photo above via Alice Pomponio's Twitter post.)
  • Keynote remarks from ACS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Karen Knudsen
  • BrightEdge Founders Circle members and friends recognition dinner featuring keynote by CNN contributor Ryan Patel on “how healing healthcare will drive global economic recovery”
  • A fireside talk with ACS Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Bill Dahut 
  • Highlights of impact being made through the BrightEdge portfolio companies 
  • Networking reception with ACS research grantees and research professors

BrightEdge is the impact investment and venture capital arm of the American Cancer Society. It invests in for profit, early-stage companies developing cutting-edge, cancer-focused therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and technologies that accelerate the ACS mission to end cancer for all.

“BrightEdge is uniquely positioned to propel system, population, and market-level solutions to advance the American Cancer Society mission,” said Alice. “BrightEdge is different because we need to make a difference.”

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How does BrightEdge support and further the mission of ACS?

  • BrightEdge invests in for-profit, early-stage companies developing cutting-edge, cancer-focused therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and technologies that accelerate the ACS mission. 
  • The ACS Impact Venture Fund (and any subsequently created impact products) will provide a diversified source of revenue beyond traditional ACS fundraising. 
  • BrightEdge is a unique and novel ACS platform to unlock both philanthropic donations and impact investing. By creating additional impact and financial products, BrightEdge opens up ACS to a new wave of donors seeking both financial and impact returns as well as sustainability, Pomponio said. 

What is “impact investing”?

Impact investing is a rapidly emerging field, currently estimated at $1.2 trillion by the Global Impact Investing Network. Given the emerging nature, there is currently no aligned definition for impact investing or common understanding of the financial vehicles, impact priorities, and metrics for defining success. There is tremendous capital and intellectual energy flowing into sustainable finance and impact across the investment and industry landscape, with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors being the hot topics in the field.

“We believe the field will continue to professionalize and is desperate for trusted, mission-oriented organizations that will lead the way toward shared priority focus areas, measurement, performance, and vehicles to drive collective action,” said Alice. “By positioning ourselves as a leading impact investor with a clear understanding of unmet need and capabilities to drive cancer impact and innovation, BrightEdge can shape the agenda and be the top partner for years to come.”

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