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Investing toward healing: How Christians can bring hope through biotech

Getty Images/Portra Images
Getty Images/Portra Images

In the United States alone, more than 6 million people live with Alzheimer’s — and 1 in 3 seniors die from the disease or another form of dementia.  

If you have ever walked closely beside someone as they battle a disease that slowly deteriorates their mind and body, like Alzheimer’s or cancer, you likely have had the feeling that this is not the way it's supposed to be. The pain and suffering brought on by these diseases remind us that we live in a broken world. And we long for a time when things will be different — when pain and suffering no longer exist.

Fifty years ago, a pediatric leukemia diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. Even during my time as a physician working with patients 25 years ago — I knew the parents of many of these children would be saying goodbye before their child would graduate high school.  

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Now, in 2023, children diagnosed with leukemia have up to a 90% survival rate. The combination of scientific research, innovation, and investment capital has brought a number of therapies into hospitals to alleviate the suffering brought on by this devastating disease. And in the moment when parents see their child healed and given hope to live a full life, they experience a joyful taste of a world as it should be. 

Perhaps this is what people felt when Jesus touched and healed them from diseases that defined their lives. In those moments, they received God’s mercy, and their joy was a glorious song to His ears.

When I think about my role now as a professional investor, it’s humbling to think of the lives that are impacted by my decisions of where I allocate capital. Although investing lacks the miraculous touch of Jesus, capital can enable that same healing through the ordinary hands of doctors and scientists working through business. So when new medicines and therapies are developed through revolutionary biotech advancements that might just provide hope to people with a tragically hopeless disease like Alzheimer’s, I think of the indescribable feeling of relief, excitement, and joy in the lives of those who are touched.

Imagine if all investing decisions were guided by such a vision. What would be the result? It could lead to society-wide rejoicing.

As a Christian, I feel this calling personally. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:10: “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.” I’ve spent much of my career providing a way for investors to come together and invest in companies that I believe are truly contributing to the flourishing of our world. This includes the many exciting companies in healthcare and biotech companies, but also companies across other sectors and industries doing important work to provide for human needs.

One of the most devastating consequences of our complex investment ecosystem, however, is that many investors — including many Christians — are unknowingly investing in companies that are harming and even destroying life. When you invest in an index fund or a mutual fund, you enter into a kind of partnership with the companies that those funds are investing in, and you profit from their actions. Many, as a result, are profiting from companies manufacturing and distributing harmful products like cigarettes, pornography, weapons, and various forms of abortifacients. 

Being a biotech investor is especially important as we invest in companies dealing with the human body, and inevitably, one’s own view of human life impacts ethical standards from research and development to marketing and distribution. Sadly, an industry that carries so much promise to bring hope and healing can also be an industry that might not have the same value of human life at all stages as those of us who see every person as made in the image of God.

As Christians, we have this amazing opportunity to come together and allocate our investment dollars toward companies that have an enormous impact on some of the most vulnerable people in the world — giving them a taste of God’s redemption. I believe diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer can be terms in history books rather than active villains. But it takes intentionality, and I’m excited to see Christian investors, financial advisors, and other investment managers come together to act as God’s hand of provision and healing for the world.

Finny Kuruvilla, MD, PhD, serves as a Co-Chief Investment Officer, Senior Portfolio Manager, Managing Director, and Founding Member of Eventide.

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