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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Lore Gruenbaum, Vice President, Therapy Acceleration Program, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)

Dr. Lore Gruenbaum joined LLS in 2020 as the Vice President for the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), the LLS venture philanthropy program aiming to accelerate high-risk, innovative blood cancer therapeutics. She brings 20 years of drug discovery and clinical development experience to LLS working on small molecules, biologics, RNA-directed and cell therapies in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology, virology and neuroscience. Most recently, Dr. Gruenbaum was employed as the Vice President, Biology at Gotham Therapeutics pioneering drug discovery in Epitranscriptomics. Prior to this, she was part of the executive leadership team at Applied Biomath where she led collaborative mechanistic modeling projects to accelerate and de-risk drug development for biotech and pharma and acted as the principal investigator on a NIH small business grant. Dr. Gruenbaum held roles of increasing responsibility at Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche Pharmaceuticals driving technical innovation, predictive toxicology, novel mechanistic and biomarker strategies for drug discovery and clinical projects. She completed her Ph.D. at Free University of Berlin with ‘summa cum laude’ and conducted postdoctoral studies at Yale University.


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Chris Penland, VP, BioPharma Programs

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Kuldip Dave, Vice President of Research, ALS Association

Dr. Dave is a former director of research programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, where he developed and implemented the Foundation’s ambitious research vision in the biology of Parkinson’s. He convened scientists from academe and the pharmaceutical industry to fund promising research opportunities, and he was deeply involved in advancing the study of alpha-synuclein, a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease.

“Dr. Dave will lead The ALS Association’s global research program, ensuring transparency, accountability and impact across our extensive research portfolio,” said Neil Thakur, executive vice president, mission strategy. “In his new capacity, he will ensure that that the Association continues to drive research that improves the lives of people with ALS and helps us find a cure.”

Dr. Dave received his undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and physiology from Drexel University College of Medicine. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at a biotechnology firm and later joined the pharmaceutical company Wyeth, where he was the biology team leader for programs in the Women’s Health Department. He later moved to Galleon Pharmaceuticals as a senior research scientist. Dr. Dave lives in Spotswood, New Jersey.

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Michael Cole, Founder and General Partner, Global Neurohealth Ventures

Dr. Cole is a Managing Partner at Global Neurohealth Ventures and an Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Berkeley. He provides strategic and scientific consultation for healthcare companies as well as investment diligence consultation for VC firms and family offices. Dr. Cole published 20+ peer-reviewed journal articles and continues to also provide direct patient care. Previous positions include Associate Clinical Professor at UC Davis, Director of Medical Affairs at Pacira Pharmaceuticals, and Head of Strategy and Business Development at OccamzRazor. He received his PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Florida, completed his internship and residency in clinical neuropsychology at the UCLA School of Medicine, and obtained an MBA from UC Berkeley.

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Paul Larkin, Manager, Research Innovation, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

Paul is the Manager of the IBD Ventures program at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. IBD Ventures seeks to accelerate the development of products that improve the quality of life of patients with inflammatory bowel disease by investing in new product development across therapeutics, devices, diagnostics and digital health. Prior to joining the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Paul worked in commercialization of life science in consulting, venture capital, tech transfer and business development roles. Paul completed his PhD at UCSF and postdoctoral studies at Stanford.