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Quote of the Week: VC Meets Global Health Philanthropy

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January 29, 2015

Biotech start-ups have truly become R&D for big-pharma distribution. Even as a VC, I am shocked at extent.”

Who said it: Bob More, Senior Advisor to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In Context: The trend referred to by Bob More is the one that sees big pharma groups acquiring nimble startups to add new products, markets, and business streams, rather than relying solely on internal R&D. It is a trend that healthcare VCs are aware of and Bob More is an active VC investor, despite his working for arguably the largest global health charity in the world. Primarily a grant-making organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started making equity investments in 2011 in life science startups in its quest to eradicate diseases that it has on its hit list, such as polio and dengue. Involving a charitable family foundation in a rate of return business is challenging, according to More in a recent interview, facing the same kind of challenges initially that a limited partner does if they want to do direct investments well. Bob More joined the Foundation in July 2013, after more than a decade as a VC. With VC investments in 25 companies, according to Crunchbase, the Foundation has obviously built up an efficient team. The charity has a USD 42.3 billion endowment with a billion and a half or so added each year since 2006 from Warren Buffett, according to its website.

Where we found it: Twitter

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