Crowdfunding, but for promising cancer drugs. Like a Kickstarter campaign, but instead of a memento or special access to the product, you get an actual share in the drug’s potential future sales. Biotech firm Agenus wants to give you a chance—something it says is now possible thanks to blockchain technology.
Agenus will soon become the first biotech company to issue a blockchain-based crypto-asset it calls a “digital security.” According to the company’s January announcement, this asset will represent “a portion of potential future US sales” of a drug called a PD-1 inhibitor, which is now in clinical trials. To begin with, regulatory constraints will limit the investment to wealthy investors and financial institutions. But the long-term goal is to make this available to as broad a group of people as possible.
Though it’s the first biotech firm to the party, Agenus is far from the only company to have this idea. The dream is that blockchains can democratize fund-raising by issuing and managing all kinds of assets faster, cheaper, and more transparently than traditional financial institutions can. In theory, this will connect a greater range of companies and ventures with a larger pool of potential investors. In the idealized future of blockchain-powered crowd investing, both sides of the market will win.
Dr Garo Armen, Agenus CEO is on the photo above