Turning Scientists into Investment Analysts

Writer
Graduate Division

EVEXIA BioFund has continued to grow since its inception in April 2014, now including 65 members and managing a portfolio of $112,319. As previously profiled by Synapse, UCSF Biomedical science graduate students T.J. Hu, Evan Markegard and Gorjan Hrustanovic founded this investing group upon the premise that scientists could leverage their expertise to make shrewder investments in biotech companies.

Thus far, that expertise has paid off. Share prices have risen from $100 to $156, and the portfolio now includes 15 companies ranging from companies focused on immuno-oncology to gene therapy.

Every month, partners in the BioFund meet and one member pitches a new investment opportunity. Each pitch includes thorough background on the company, both scientifically and financially. The partners scrutinize not only the scientific rigor of the company’s products, but also whether the company is undervalued and therefore offers an opportunity to outperform the market. In addition to their investing aims, EVEXIA has started a new program to train partners and non-partners, known as the Analyst Training Program (ATP).

The goal of the program is to train the next generation of leaders for EVEXIA, as well as continue to discover new investment opportunities. Started in October, ATP enrolled 8 members, from a wide-range of backgrounds. This class includes PhD students, postdocs, as well as members currently involved in business development or UCSF’s Entrepreneurship Center.

The program consists of two main components. The first is a seminar series on financial topics ranging from finance 101 to portfolio theory. The second component involves putting together a pitch in small groups and presenting it in front of all the EVEXIA partners.

Founder Hu hopes that the analysts in ATP will “generate fresh ideas and that each one of them will be able to pitch their own company in the future”. For those interested in joining their scientific expertise with investment knowledge, the next round of enrollment in the ATP will likely occur next April 2016.