"Consumers take out loans every day to purchase houses, cars, and college tuition. What if they could do the same for expensive medicines?
"It’s an idea that a group of Boston-area health economists floated last month in response to the rising cost of prescription drugs. And as envisioned, everyone involved in health care and finance could benefit from the availability of a health care loan..."
A new class of medications was recently approved that cures more than 95 percent of people with Hepatitis C in only six weeks at a cost of about $84,000 per person, and new therapies with price tags that are likely to exceed $1 million per person are now available or coming soon. How can patients possibly afford them?
"It was during the financial crisis that Andrew Lo had his epiphany: The way to save health care from ever-rising costs is by bringing in the banks. Specifically, by packaging drug development costs into securities to be bought and sold by Wall Street—the very, um, mortgage-bundling technique that blew up the economy in 2007. “The reason the financial crisis happened is not because securitization didn’t work. It happened because it worked way too well,” says Lo, a professor of financial engineering at MIT. Securitization injected a huge pool of money into mortgages—what if you could inject that pool of money into a worthwhile cause and, ahem, do it responsibly?
"So Lo, who has seen his mother and several friends die from cancer, wants to use the techniques of Wall Street to fix healthcare. In a new paper in Science Translational Medicine, he and his coauthors propose creating loans for patients whose insurance policies don’t cover ultra-expensive treatments like the cure for hepatitis C—loans that would be financed by bundling them and selling to Wall Street investors..."
"Risikoaversion ist eine der zentralen Annahmen der Wirtschaftswissen
schaften, aber auch eine grundlegen de Eigenschaft menschlichen Verhaltens. Trotz umfangreicher Forschung ist wenig über Nutzenfunktionen oder über die Gründe für unterschiedliche Risikopräferenzen von Individuen oder Gesellschaften bekannt."
[Risk aversionisone of the centralassumptionsof economics, butalsoafundamentalpropertyof human behavior.Despite extensiveresearch, little is known about the benefitsorfeaturesof the reasonsfor differentrisk preferencesof individualsorcompanies]
"Indexes are becoming more than just market-cap-weighted portfolios, according to a new report from MIT. With new passive investment products continuing to emerge, Sloan Professor of Finance Andrew Lo proposed broadening the definition of an index to include “dynamic indexes” such as smart beta strategies..."
"The investment industry should be constantly looking at the impact of technology on the status quo. Just because indexes have been defined as cap-weighted portfolios, doesn’t mean that can’t change. In fact, the evolution in portfolio management necessitates a change in thinking with regard to the definition of indexes, in particular so risk management can be decoupled from alpha generation. In a new paper that argues for a new definition of what constitutes an index, Andrew Lo, professor of finance at MIT Sloan School of Management pushes the boundaries by not only suggesting change, but by demonstrating a new functional definition for indexes and the benefits, and pitfalls, of doing so..."
"Economist, finance professor and investment manager Andrew Lo says some of the 'financial weapons of mass destruction' that helped trigger the 2008-'09crisis can be used for good. If deployed in megafunds by teams of savvy money managers and scientists, he believes, the securitization of intellectual property related to biomedical research could yield lucrative returns while also breathing life into what the biotechnology industry calls the valley of death - neglected early-stage, risky drug development projects for the rarest and most intractable diseases. But Lo, who has conducted several simulations that he says show this strategy could work, is just the idea guy..."
Andrew Lo, Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering, discusses his recent paper The Gordon Gekko Effect, corporate culture, and why biology is an increasingly relevant framework for understanding the financial markets.
We are making breakthroughs almost weekly in our understanding of cancer and other deadly diseases, both in how to treat and – in some cases – how to cure them. So why is funding for early stage biomedical research and development declining just when we need it most? One answer is that the financial risk of drug development has increased, and investors don’t like risk. What if we could reduce the risk and increase the reward through financial engineering? By applying tools like portfolio theory, securitization, and derivative securities to construct “megafunds” that invest in many biomedical projects, we can tap into the power of global financial markets to raise billions of dollars. If structured properly, investors can earn attractive returns with tolerable levels of risk, and many more patients can get the drugs they desperately need. Finance doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game; we can do well by doing good if we have sufficient scale.