Andrew W. Lo, the hedge fund manager and MIT business professor, wants to bring Wall Street-style financial engineering to a crucial social need: curing cancer.
He is proposing an idea that would go beyond his own firm, creating a “megafund” that would flood early-stage research in cancer drugs with $30 billion. By supporting as many as 150 experimental compounds at any one time and bringing in large numbers of investors, he argues, the risk would be spread over a much larger base.
Even if just a few of the treatments prove effective, Lo estimates the fund would be profitable, earning equity investors annual returns of 7 to 10 %
Lo's fund since its start in September 2008, the fund has gained 1.7% on average per year.