More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the affliction that erodes memory and other mental capacities, but no drugs targeting the disease have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2003. Now a paper by an MIT professor, Andrew W. Lo, suggests that a revamped way of financing Alzheimer’s research could spur the development of useful new drugs for the illness.
MIT finance professor, Andrew Lo, is working with banking regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an arm of the Treasury Department, to help build quantitative tools to find potential credit risk in the banking industry, starting with the mortgage market. The efforts of Lo, a pioneer in his field, are part of an unprecedented push at the OCC to embrace quantitative analysis. The regulator is building models, hiring financial engineers - known on Wall Street as "quants" or "strats"- and questioning banks to a far greater degree than it ever has before.
Why do investors make stupid mistakes? Why do individuals consistently underperform the very funds they invest in? Are there strategies investors can follow to avoid self-destructive behavior? Those are some of the weighty questions Financial Thought Leader Andrew Lo is trying to answer from two vantage points, one as a professor of Finance at MIT and Director of its Laboratory for Financial Engineering, the other as strategist and fund manager at his firm AlphaSimplex Group. This conversation will start with his most recent research project at MIT, titled "Artificial Stupidity"!
Here in the Boston area, cancer researchers abound. But there is something of a crisis in the field. As a professor/friend of mine who runs a lab here in town tells me, research has identified a host of therapeutic targets, but “results from the clinic have not produced encouraging outcomes and, to date, there have been no reliable lasting responses to therapies against many malignancies.”It seems that cancer cells are proving better than researchers thought at evasion. They evolve, adapting to treatments and circumventing them. Out-of-the-box thinking, and funding, may be what’s necessary.
Professor Andrew W. Lo discusses his proposal to use financial engineering to spread risks among investors and provide financial incentives to develop successful cancer treatments. He explains how the cancer megafund works, and how investors can make good money in finding a cure for cancer.
What if I told you about an investment fund that diversifies your portfolio, shields you from fluctuations in the stock market, and earns double-digit returns? Sounds interesting, right? Did I mention that this investment also creates potentially life-saving treatments for deadly rare diseases? This fund doesn’t exist — at least not yet. I’m cautiously optimistic, however, that in the near future we’ll see the launch of an orphan disease “mega-fund” that finances early-stage biomedical research and drug development and is also a tidy investment.