UBS Pushes Impact Investing Credentials With Oncology Fund

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 28 April 2016

UBS Pushes Impact Investing Credentials With Oncology Fund

The Swiss banking giant says it has set a record for impact investing in the field of oncology.

UBS Wealth Management has raised $471 million for the final closing of the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, an impact investing initiative aimed at developing cancer treatments. The fund-raising amount is a record, the Swiss bank said.

Investments will be made in early-stage oncology to accelerate the development of new cures. Cancer care is particularly appropriate for this kind of investment because of a supportive regulatory environment, UBS said.

Impact investing, a term gaining increasing prominence in the wealth management space in recent years, is a term describing how investors try to generate a defined positive social impact as well as a competitive financial rate of return.

In addition to investing in early-stage cancer treatments, the Oncology Impact Fund will support academic research and better access to cancer care in the developing world. A portion of any performance fees generated and half of a royalty attached with best efforts to all successful drugs sales will be managed by UBS Optimus Foundation and go towards financing expanded access to cancer care for people in the developing world. The other half of the royalty amount will be spent on academic grants to promising oncology-related research. The fund has already struck the first royalty agreement of this type, UBS said in a statement.

UBS Wealth Management's chief investment office has identified several themes as attractive from an impact investing perspective, including textile supply chain innovation, affordable emerging market healthcare, insurance for climate change resilience and protein alternatives.

Recent examples of impact investing initatives include the G8-affiliated Social Impact Investment Taskforce (now called the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group) and the World Economic Forum's reports on mainstreaming impact investing. UBS contributed to both initiatives.

Bioventure investment manager MPM Capital is collaborating with UBS WM on the fund.

The venture follows other programmes including UBS Optimus Foundation’s Development Impact Bond focused on education in Rajasthan, India; support for investment vehicles that invest through funds into small and medium enterprises in developing countries, and inclusive finance initiatives across Asia and Latin America. It also supports the aims of the "UBS & Society" program, which seeks to create long-term, sustainable and measurable benefits for clients and communities.


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