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The Biggest Bet

A Monday panel on venture philanthropy was ticking along nicely, talking about funding models, relationships and licensing terms.

Then Jigar Raythatha, chief business officer at Jounce Therapeutics, turned to the other panelists, and asked a big question.

Have you ever considered betting big on one very promising treatment?

After all, it could get a cure to market faster, what disease-specific charities are all about.

Sure, said Walter Capone, COO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. But if you were wrong, you'd have a lot of explaining to do to your donors, and to their patients.

Foundations that invest in companies have highly-skilled advisory panels that help them identify the most promising science in their disease area.  The Michael J. Fox Foundation tries to get that promising science far enough that a large company can pick up the project.

Is additional money better, asked Tracey Mumford at the Fox Foundation.  The foundation considers that when making awards.

It was an interesting twist in a discussion that usually focuses on dollars and legalities, but reminded us all why we do biotech.

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