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Impact Investing in Healthcare: Accelerating Innovation for Global Health

Rachel Butler May 20, 2021

If we have learned anything from the last 18 months, it’s that innovation in life sciences and healthcare is crucial to our global wellbeing.   Developments in testing, vaccine technology, remote monitoring, tele-health, and mental health treatment… to name just a few, have been tremendously impactful in saving lives, improving quality of life, and even preserving economic health in many areas of the world.

How can impact investing play a role in health innovation?  In the US, billions of dollars a year is spent on medical research. However, just a tiny fraction of that research ever leaves the lab, in large part due to the lack of funding for startups and early-stage companies.  Philanthropic capital is an ideal funding source for early-stage investing in life sciences and healthcare, as it has a higher risk tolerance and is more patient than other more traditional funding sources.

Focus of the session:

 Learn how venture philanthropy and impact investing can accelerate the advancement of novel technologies from the lab to the bedside.

  • Philanthropic capital, with its higher risk tolerance, can help bridge the funding gap (the “valley of death”) to help early-stage companies successfully develop technologies
  • A catalytic approach: Early investment validates the company, the team and the technology, which facilitates additional funding
  • Strategic co-investing relationships can catalyze like-minded funders
  • A case study in “regenerative philanthropy”, where an evergreen model recycles funds for impact in perpetuity
  • Examples of successful investments to address the mental health crisis, including a novel treatment for depression, and cutting-edge technologies to accelerate drug development



Meta Themes

  • Impact Investing


Global Health: Building back better in Global Health by investing in healthcare innovation

Purpose and Desired Outcome

The audience will learn about the unique opportunities for impact, using philanthropic capital for impact investing to advance life-saving technologies in healthcare. With a unique approach, blending venture philanthropy and impact investing, it is possible to address some of the world’s most pressing needs in healthcare, at the early, fragile stages of development. They will be introduced to a model where “patient capital” drives impactful innovations that are crucial to society and catalyzes other investors to fill gaps where traditional funding falls short.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Asset Managers

  • Corporate & SME

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Accelerators & Incubators


  • NameRachel Butler
  • TitlePresident
  • OrganizationCatalytic Impact Foundation
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameRick Lipkin
  • TitleFounder, Director
  • OrganizationCatalytic Impact Foundation
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameRob Wolk
  • TitleBoard Chair
  • OrganizationAmref Health Africa
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameSusana Frazao Pinheiro
  • TitleHead, Health Sciences
  • OrganizationUniv College London, School of Management
  • StatusConfirmed
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