Life Science Investors Looking for More Than Financial Returns


This panel features four speakers and a moderator from firms that make equity investments into early-stage companies and organizations with the intent to generate a positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. Some of these firms focus on impacting a specific patient population, whereas others have broader goals in creating an impact for their local region, or the world. Topics may include:

  • What is impact investing?
  • How is the investment mandate affected by the impact goal? • How do investors measure and increase the impact of their capital?
  • How should startups approach impact investors for fundraising, and what criteria do they use to evaluate opportunities?
  • What separates an impact investor from a traditional VC?

Panelists will discuss how impact investors provide capital to address challenges in life sciences and healthcare sectors worldwide. While impact investing market is a relatively new trend, panelists will also discuss how companies can successfully fundraise from impact investors and the best way to develop a relationship with relevant investors.


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Andy Merken, Partner, Corporate and Securities Co-Chair, Life Sciences, Burns & Levinson (Moderator)

Andy is a Partner in the Corporate Group and the Venture Capital & Emerging Companies Group. He is also the Co-Chair of both the Life Sciences Group and the Securities Group. Andy focuses on business and transactional matters for a wide range of clients, with a particular concentration on Seed round and Venture Capital financings, recapitalizations, mergers & acquisitions, private equity transactions, and corporate governance. In addition to his corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions work, Andy represents entrepreneurs, start-up and growth-stage companies, and investment banks, as well as venture capital investors, private foundations, family offices, and angel investors, in formation and structuring matters, equity and compensation, business contracts and general business advice and planning. Andy also represents C-level and R&D executives in employment matters, including equity compensation. Andy works with clients in a variety of industries, including life sciences (biotech/biopharmaceutical, medical device, healthcare, digital health, and healthcare services), business services, software, financial services, venture capital, investment banking, consulting, legal services, consumer products, staffing, food services, real estate, and entertainment.

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Brian Meshkin, Managing Partner, Profound Ventures; Partner, Cancer Fund

Brian Meshkin‘s social entrepreneurship began as an award-winning youth activist. At 13 years of age following the tragic death of a friend in front of his home, he led the lobbying effort to pass the nation’s first bicycle helmet law for children. Following this tragedy, he worked with the National Safe Kids Campaign (now called Safe Kids Worldwide), along with many others to advocate for similar efforts across the nation. Today, Brian has become an award-winning entrepreneur and technology executive. He has been recognized nationally and locally for his achievements, having founded and led some of the fastest growing technology companies in North America – ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and the Inc. 500. The Baltimore Sun selected Brian as one of five “Earthly Angels” for his positive impact. He was chosen as the 2016 Emerging Technology Company CEO of the Year by the OC Tech Alliance/OCTANe, as a 2016 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Winner from the OC Business Journal, and a two-time finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Previously, Brian was a Team Leader at the e.Lilly venture fund, a division of Eli Lilly, former manager of digital health for Johnson & Johnson’s largest product, and helped direct marketing efforts for Prometheus Laboratories. As a pioneer in big data and precision medicine, he founded Proove Biosciences which created the world’s largest clinical-genetics database of over 150,000 pain patients. Proove’s R&D efforts involved leading academic centers across North America and won research awards from leading medical societies. In 2010, Brian became the youngest ever-elected school board member for one of the nation’s leading school systems. He is graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park.

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John Parker, Founder & Managing Director, Springhood Ventures

John founded Springhood Ventures to address the funding gap in child health innovation. Springhood provides critical early investment and support to companies developing important healthcare solutions for children. In parallel to this role, he established and manages the program-related investment (PRI) initiative of the Charles H. Hood Foundation, a Boston-based private foundation that supports pediatric research, where he also serves as a trustee.

John is an observer on the boards of Prapela, Inc., Aldatu Biosciences, Breegi Scientific, and Noninvasix, Inc., and he serves as an advisor to the BioPontis Alliance for Rare Diseases, the DRIVEN Accelerator Hub, the International Society of Pediatric Innovation, and a number of pre-commercial pediatric-focused startups. He is also a frequent speaker on pediatric innovation, investment in child health solutions, and impact-first investing.

Previously, John spent 25 years in the alternative investment industry, including senior roles in venture capital, private equity, and hedge funds. Early in his career he worked in operations consulting and international merchant banking. Although currently living in the Boston area with his wife and their three children, John spent portions of his career in New York, Tokyo and Sydney and has done business in over 20 countries on 6 continents. John has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

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Anna Turetsky, Principal, Venture Investments, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research (MFCR)

Anna Turetsky joined The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research (MFCR) as Principal, Venture Investments in November 2019 to launch and lead the foundation’s mission-driven venture arm. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Verseau Therapeutics, and also represents MFCR on the Boards of Accent Therapeutics, C2i Genomics, and Interius BioTherapeutics. Prior to this, Anna was a Vice President at Lightstone Ventures. She played a major role in the Lightstone’s investments in Tizona Therapeutics (acquired by Gilead), Gemini Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GMTX), Disarm Therapeutics (acquired by Eli Lilly), Locanabio, and Cyteir Therapeutics, and served as Board observer for these companies. Anna’s additional work experience includes strategic consulting for corporate venture funds and biotech companies. Anna holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and a B.A. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Vagelos Science Scholar.  

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Richard Lipkin, Co-Founder, Co-Chair, The Catalytic Impact Foundation

Richard Lipkin is a Managing Director of New York-based Easton Capital Investment Group. Previously, he was a partner of Commerce Health Ventures, a life sciences healthcare fund, and Laird & Co., a private merchant bank; a biotech analyst consultant for a Goldman Sachs hedge fund and for DARPA; Executive Director of the Strang Cancer Prevention Center; and a prolific author, awarded the American Chemical Society’s Grady-Stack Award for research analysis.

Mr. Lipkin studied theoretical neuroscience at Columbia University, and serves on many boards, councils, and committees for the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, MBL, the New York Academy of Science, and Montefiore Medical Center.

Mr. Lipkin is an honors graduate of Princeton University, holds an MBA from Columbia University, and is a Senior Staff Associate in Columbia University’s Department of Neuroscience.