may, 2019

30may6:00 pm8:00 pmVenture Investing in Health and Biotech: Ethical Considerations, Challenges, Solutions


Event Details

Life science investors and start-ups they support have helped launch many important advances in medicine, health care, and biotech. They play a vital role in addressing unmet medical needs, through the development of novel treatments and solutions. But ethical questions and challenges also arise. Occasionally, “scandals” have emerged – surrounding the marketing of prescription opioids; misleading and false claims of a technology as in the case of Theranos; inappropriate disclosure of inter-corporate relationships and insurance manipulation as in the case of Valeant; and conflicts of interest concerning the sale of patient info as happened at  Sloan Kettering. At Yale University and elsewhere, student groups have criticized institutional investments in various companies, seeking greater accountability that portfolio companies meet higher ethical standards as a pre-qualifying condition for investing in them. Policy makers have also stated broadly that they want to address the increasing costs of medications.


This panel discussion features a diverse group of experts, all accomplished leaders in their respective fields. We will engage the panelists in a didactic exchange, and invite attendees to participate so that we can together examine key ethical issues pertaining to healthcare and biotech investing. The program offers a rare and unique opportunity to gather insights from esteemed Silicon Valley investors and biotech pioneers and others and to develop new vantage points through which ethical issues in life science investing can be viewed and considered.

 Topics and questions include: 

  • Should Venture Capital companies and start-ups consider ethical issues and take these into account when investing, and if so, how and to what degree?
  • How does the fiduciary responsibility to deliver ‘return on investment’ fit with ethical issues?
  • What types of models exist, or could emerge to help instill higher ethical standards for health investing? (e.g, perhaps an ‘ethical scorecard’ in quarterly reports).
  • How should VC firms and start-ups address these issues?
  • Should we engage large corporations in the debate, and can we compel them to be part of the solution?
  • What ‘next steps’ might be taken to bring about the most desirable outcomes?


(Thursday) 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm