How The Ultra-Wealthy Are Helping Advance Health And Life Sciences

Javier Hasse, Staff Writer,

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

[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.

Cavendish Innovation Partner Owlstone Medical Announces $11.55M USD (£9.3M GBP) Fundraising

Investment will fund commercial launch of breath biomarker R&D services and clinical trials in lung and colon cancer screening

Cambridge, UK: Owlstone Medical Ltd, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for disease, today announced that it has successfully raised $11.55 million USD (£9.3 million GBP) financing. The investment round was led by existing investors, and will be used to commercially launch the company’s breath biomarker R&D services, including the opening of a new high volume clinical facility, and to fund ongoing clinical trials in lung and colon cancer screening. The funding follows the original investment of $7 million (£4.9 million) that spun Owlstone Medical out in June 2016.

Owlstone Medical is leveraging proprietary and proven Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry (FAIMS) technology in its disease breathalyzer product range. FAIMS measures volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites in patient’s breath or bodily fluids which are specific to disease. Measurement of VOC biomarkers allows non-invasive diagnosis of disease at a very early stage, to enable more effective treatment and better patient outcomes.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical commented: “Securing this funding is further validation of our FAIMS technology and breath biopsy as a new diagnostic modality. We’ve made fantastic progress in our LuCID lung cancer trial, which will recruit up to 3,000 patients across 21 sites in the UK and Europe, making it the world’s largest breath-based study ever undertaken for early cancer detection.  The commercial launch of our R&D services will, for the first time, allow clinical and pharma partners to easily identify breath biomarkers for novel diagnostics and precision medicine applications.”

Regius Professor Christofer Toumazou, advisor to Medtekwiz and Non-Executive Director of Owlstone Medical, said: “Owlstone Medical has made tremendous progress in clinical trials for the diagnosis of colon and lung cancer, which are two of the biggest cancer killers worldwide. I am delighted that with this additional investment we are a step closer to making breath biopsy a reality for patients.”

The potential of the technology to enable rapid detection of disease, without the need for costly, invasive medical procedures, has seen Owlstone Medical’s breath sampling and analysis technology recently named Invention of the Year in the 2017 Top 50 in Digital Health Awards. Hosted by Rock Health, Fenwick & West, Goldman Sachs, and Square 1 Bank in the run up to the J.P. Morgan Conference, the accolade recognizes exceptional progress in bringing technological advancements to healthcare.

Owlstone Medical will be attending the upcoming Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum in San Diego, California, February 6-8, 2017.

To find out more about Owlstone Medical visit:

Media contact:

For more information please contact:

Sarah Jeffery, Zyme Communications

+44 (0)7771 730919


About Owlstone Medical:

Owlstone Medical has developed a breathalyzer for disease. With a focus on non-invasive diagnostics for cancer, infectious disease and inflammatory disease, the company aims to save 100,000 lives and $1.5B in health care costs by 2020.

The company’s microchip FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer) sensor is a platform technology that can be programmed in software to detect targeted biomarkers of disease in breath (and other bodily fluids).  FAIMS can be used in clinical diagnostics and precision medicine with application in cancer and a wide range of other medical conditions. Highly sensitive and selective, these tests allow for early diagnosis when treatments are more effective and where more lives can be saved.

Owlstone Medical is currently developing tests for lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancer killers worldwide. The company also sells R&D tools and services to academic, clinical and pharma partners who want to develop breath based diagnostics for their own applications.

Founded in 2004 as a spin-out from the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge University, Owlstone Inc is a profitable business selling its proven FAIMS technology to military and industrial customers globally. Owlstone Medical was spun out from Owlstone Inc in 2016 to develop and commercialise FAIMS in diagnostic applications.

Owlstone Medical is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in London, UK.  

About Medtekwiz Advisory:

Medtekwiz is a private investment fund that invests in companies developing and commercializing disruptive medical technologies. With an advisory office in London, the Fund represents a network of pioneering entrepreneurs and world class business leaders that invest internationally.

Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson to Join Cavendish Global at Upcoming Health Impact Forum in San Diego

Former Health and Human Services Secretary and Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson will deliver the opening keynote at the upcoming Cavendish Global Health Impact Forum on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

Thompson served as the four-term Governor of Wisconsin from 1987 until 2001, the longest to serve in that position. In 2001, Thompson was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. As Secretary, Thompson drove initiatives to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, modernize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and fortifying the nation’s preparedness for a bio-terrorism attack through heavy investment in state and local health systems.

“Governor Thompson’s record in public health at both the state and federal level, and his voice in the national conversation on healthcare make him a leading resource that I know will resonate deeply with the Cavendish community. I am delighted that he will join our Forum in February and eagerly await his insights,” Cavendish Global Chairman J. Michael Moffat says.

After stepping down from the Bush Administration in 2005, Thompson has remained active in the private and nonprofit sectors. Thompson has continued his initiatives to advance innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing American families, businesses and the nation. Specifically, building on the use of technology in hospitals and clinics, promoting healthier lifestyles, modernizing Medicare and Medicaid and expanding medical diplomacy around the world. Thompson served as a senior adviser at consulting firm Deloitte and Touche USA LLP and was the founding independent Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. He also served as a senior partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld LLP, and as Chairman and President of the Board of Directors for Logistics Health, Inc. Thompson currently serves on the Board of Directors in the following public companies: Centene Corporation, C.R. Bard, Inc., United Therapeutics Corporation and TherapeuticsMD, Inc..

Thompson will speak at the opening of the Forum, joining a list of recent notable Cavendish speakers, including J. Craig Venter, PhD; Malin Burnham, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler; Lindy Fishburne, Theil Foundation and Breakout Labs; Isaac Blech, 21st Century Investors; Eric Reiman, MD; Delos Cosgrove, MD, Cleveland Clinic; Marshall Field V, The Everglades Foundation; and Robin Smith, MD, MBA.

The upcoming Forum will be held in San Diego, CA, February 6-8, 2017 and launches the 2017 series of Health Impact Forums, with subsequent Forums being hosted in Washington DC in May, New York City in July and Cambridge, MA in November. The San Diego Forum will convene approximately 200 participants from the Cavendish Global community, a New York-based community of health and life science innovators, family offices, foundations, philanthropists and impact investors.