The setting was Oxford College and residence of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill. It was an extraordinary setting that brought together notable private equity funds from a variety of innovative early stage companies, all set to make a significant impact. The purpose of the forum was to assist family offices and foundations in developing and implementing their individual pro-social impact investing, grant-giving, and philanthropy programs within health and life sciences.
A compelling keynote speech given by Mehmood Khan M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo Global, acknowledged the wide variety of issues regarding food production, food waste and allocation of resources. Khan leads company-wide research and development for the world’s largest food company, which serves over 1.5 billion people daily. He described a coming world food shortage, driven largely by a water shortage. The dilemma is that 40% of the food produced is never consumed and agriculture is the primary consumer of water. Allocating and conserving water is going to be a core challenge of food distribution in the developing world. As the head of a global team of experts in nutrition, medicine, research, science, ingredient sourcing and product innovation, Khan discussed innovations that would bring food production “closer to the people.” So far in the works are the development of micro food processing plants on semi-trailers that can take the processing to the people.
Joseph Smith, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of West Health Institute, also gave a noteworthy keynote speech. He discussed a healthcare system that leads in technology, but is failing due to the lack of coordination and interoperability of healthcare information systems. Imagine if a jumbo jet fell from the sky each day, taking hundreds of life upon collision. This is essentially what is happening with inoperable healthcare systems, where unnecessary deaths by medical errors takes an estimated 400,000 American lives each year.