Javier Hasse, Staff Writer, Benzinga.com
Advances in biotechnology, medicine and life sciences traditionally require a lot of time, work and funding. However, much of this effort is being made by small companies and foundations, that struggle to secure capital resources, rather than large pharmaceutical companies like Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE: NVS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE), AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE: AZN) or GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE: GSK).
Nonetheless, there’s a segment of high net worth individuals in the United States and abroad that are committed to the advancement of life sciences; they come together at Cavendish Global[i]. This New York-based community of innovators, impact investors and strategic partners is dedicated to connecting these individuals and organizations with the companies and researchers that can literally save lives with their support.
Benzinga recently attended SCN Corporate Connect’s Family Office & Life Science Symposium at the NASDAQ[ii] and had the chance to speak with one of Cavendish Global’s four managing partners, Tom McKenzie.
Meet Cavendish Global
Tom McKenzie: Cavendish Global developed on the thesis that ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices and their managers, and other impact-focused health and life science investors, would be interested in meeting directly with the founders and CEOs of early and mid-stage health and life science companies, to potentially make a private equity investment or provide some sort of financial support such as a non-dilutive grant from a foundation, or some sort of debt or convertible.
Cavendish was founded by family offices, for family offices and others investors committed to making an impact on the lives of others. This provides us with a distinctive insight to understanding best practices on how to interact with family offices, and also to foster engagement and community amongst a traditionally fragmented segment.
Our focus is put on identifying, interviewing and selecting the companies and organizations demonstrating high impact in the health and life science space. The common criteria we look for in our innovators is: Is the innovation truly transformational? Are company leaders passionate about their work and are they doing it to make a difference? Will the innovation have a broad impact on the global community, and how can Cavendish help? We strive to offer the access to a multitude of resources including such things as advisory services, connectivity and capital formation opportunities to help transformational innovations expedite their impact to the populations that need it most.
The Double-Bottom Line Results
Javier Hasse: What is the upside for investors?
McKenzie: Our network of impact-centric investors is laser-focused on what we call the double-bottom line result: both a return on investment, but chiefly, a return on impact — how will an investment change the world?
We also recognize that not all investors are alike. This is why the Cavendish community is comprised of three distinct entities working to promote the awareness, connectivity and opportunity for promising innovations to come before impact-minded audiences. Cavendish Global convenes impact-minded investors and promising innovators at our Health Impact Forums held throughout the year and hosted with partners such as the United Nations, University of Oxford, Cleveland Clinic, to name a few, with the next in Washington, DC, this May 7–9. Our Forums provide investors with one-on-one access [to] the most promising innovators, identified through our own selection process. Cavendish Impact Capital, launched last August, provides investors and high net worth individuals with the opportunity to invest in their Life Science Fund, while the recently-launched Cavendish Impact Foundation provides the opportunity to make tax-deductible contributions that are then advanced through traditional or non-dilutive grants or venture philanthropy. In short, for any impact-minded investor, we present an opportunity to participate.
Hasse: Could you tell us a bit about the companies you are working with?
McKenzie: Typically, most of our companies are private. We have some publicly-traded companies, but primarily it is private companies that have already raised some angel funds, typically up to $2 million.
These companies are looking for that next large Series A or Series B round to support the clinical trial process, which is very expensive and a prerequisite for FDA approval. While our companies are diverse, whether in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices or health care delivery, they typically share the same attributes in funding and organizational development.
About 20 percent of our innovators are publicly traded but are typically pre-commercial, pre-revenue companies. Some of our publicly-traded companies include Oryzon Genomics SA (BME: ORY) working on the development of epigenetics-based therapeutics, RXi Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: RXII) that has developed a proprietary technology platform and immunotherapy agent to address significant unmet medical needs, and Rex Bionics PLC (LON: RXB) working on hands-free, self-supporting and independently controlled robotic mobility devices. The common theme is that these companies could transform their space in health and life sciences.
Hasse: Do you assume any political or ideological positions when selecting partners?
McKenzie: Cavendish is a politically agnostic community. Accelerating impact and innovation is a unifying cause, with implications that either have or will eventually personally touch all of us, and we engage all perspectives as we grow the community.
Last month at our San Diego Forum, we hosted Greg Simon, executive director of the Biden Foundation and former executive director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, who spoke on his experiences and personal mission. In May, we will be hosting James Rosebush, who stood at the forefront of impact investing as a top advisor to President Reagan, who engendered private sector solutions for public problems, a precursor to the larger impact investing movement.
Cavendish routinely involves public-sector or nonprofit organizations that work closely with the public sector, to guide our companies on their relationship with the regulatory process. It is not our role to determine how impact occurs, but rather to identify and aggregate the opportunities and resources to advance impact, and promote its organic growth.
[i]Cavendish Global is a peer-to-peer community of paradigm-changing innovators in health and the life sciences; over 200 leading family offices, philanthropists, foundations and impact investors; key opinion leaders and renown institutional partners that share a passion for well-conceived impact investing, sustainable philanthropy and delivering transformative impact. Cavendish provides the resources for innovators to advance their impactful work from mind to marketplace — through connectivity, advisory services, access to key opinion leaders and capital opportunities. Together, the Cavendish community bridges the gaps and accelerates innovation. Learn more at www.CavendishGlobal.com
[ii]The Family Office & Life Science Symposium was held on Tuesday at the Nasdaq Marketsite, sponsored by T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ: TMUS). Among the companies presenting there were AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ACRX), Amyris Inc (NASDAQ: AMRS), Cellular Biomedicine Group Inc (NASDAQ: CBMG), Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: DRNA) and Hemispherx BioPharma, Inc (NYSE: HEB). Attendees included Andrew Schneider (Family Office Networks), Tom McKenzie (Cavendish Global), Arthur Andrew Bavelas (Family Office Insights), Steven Christmann (Christmann-Guttermann Family Office), the Gorlin Family Office, the Gonzalez Family Office, the Murray Capital Group, the Lexington Family Office, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC), and many others.