Andrew Lo, professor, hedge fund manager, and director of the financial engineering lab at MIT’s Sloane School of Management discusses how the financial markets can play a key role in solving the greatest global challenges. Including finding a cure for cancer.
MIT finance professor and hedge fund manager Andrew W. Lo has another idea about how to further the cause — by harnessing the power of financial wizardry. Lo wants to create a “megafund” that would raise billions of dollars for early-stage research in cancer drugs.
Economist and finance professor at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management, challenges a core idea of financial theory: that markets are "efficient," meaning there's no point in trying to time your moves in and out of stocks, since everything you could know about them is already baked into the price.
The electronic glitch that cost Knight Capital Group $440m points to a new threat to our digital economy: technological risk. As one of the largest and most technologically advanced broker-dealers in the US, much of Knight’s trading is handled electronically. Its growth is a reflection of Moore’s law, an observation on the trend towards ever cheaper, faster, and more powerful computer hardware. However, financial services differs from the semiconductor industry in at least one important respect: human behaviour. As the great physicist Richard Feynman once said: “Imagine how much harder physics would be if electrons had feelings.” While finance undoubtedly benefits from Moore’s law, it must also contend with Murphy’s law: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”
A “proof-of-concept” study applying financial portfolio theory to U.S. biomedical research funding shows that the nation’s health might gain the largest benefit by increasing funding on heart, lung, and blood diseases, and might gain the quickest benefit by increasing spending on mental illness research.
Translational research - the point at which general scientific knowledge starts to be applied to addressing a specific disease or condition - is the first step on the path to developing a new drug. But traditional investors in translational research (large- and medium-cap biopharmaceutical companies and life science-focused venture capital funds) are becoming increasingly risk averse in the face of escalating challenges in the drug development process. FasterCures recently hosted a Financial Innovations Lab to examine business models and financial instruments that can improve the risk/return ratio for early-stage investors. In this session you'll hear from experts who have designed and implemented new models like leveraged funds, research-based obligations and collaborative funding. If we can find a way to close the funding gap for translational research, we can get one step closer to urgently needed treatments.