Mar 09, 2023
By Susan P. Sandler, Conquer Cancer
The New Rhein Foundation (NRF), a private foundation created in 2022, has chosen Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation’s Young Investigator Award (YIA) program as one of the first initiatives to benefit from its grant funding.
NRF’s mission includes making grants and investments to further the development of existing pharmaceutical drugs and devices for low- and middle-income communities and creating and supporting educational programs and professional opportunities in the life sciences industry for qualifying individuals from underprivileged backgrounds.
NRF was founded by Greg Parekh, PhD, founder and managing partner of New Rhein Healthcare Investors. The private equity firm focuses on assets with proven clinical safety and efficacy applied in new ways to develop products that deliver compelling health benefits to patients, as well as economic value to payors. Prior to launching New Rhein Healthcare Investors, Dr. Parekh led integration planning for Alcon, then a subsidiary of Novartis AG, where he managed the Mergers & Acquisitions group. He also previously served as a member of the ASCO CancerLinQ Board of Governors, chair of the CancerLinQ Advisory Committee, and chair of the CancerLinQ Business Strategy Committee.
At Novartis, Dr. Parekh met Subhanu Saxena, who joined New Rhein as a managing partner in 2017 and was recently tapped to head the NRF. Mr. Saxena previously was the managing director and global chief executive officer of Cipla, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, and worked closely in the past with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, building capabilities to scale up technology innovations for lower-resourced countries.
Both executives’ work in global pharmaceuticals and health care have informed their careers, as they have seen the impact that pharmacology can have on patient care. “Greg and I have always had a notion of health care as a universal right, to have a broad societal impact,” Mr. Saxena said.
NRF’s product development focus will bring treatments and technologies in noncommunicable diseases, including cancer, to low- to middle-income communities. This may include bringing 505(b)(2) applications for existing drugs to bring these drugs to areas previously untapped by market forces.
NRF is launching an Emerging Leaders Academy to support promising talented individuals from less privileged backgrounds through training and mentorship programs. As one of its first initiatives through the Academy, NRF has provided support for 2023 and 2024 Conquer Cancer – New Rhein Foundation Young Investigator Awards for Emerging Leaders. These awards will provide research grant funding to investigators from low- or middle-income countries or to investigators from educationally, environmentally, or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Gandhi said, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” reflected Mr. Saxena. “We’ll go step by step; we want to focus on the right initiatives with the right purpose. There are so many talented people from less privileged backgrounds. It would be
a shame to let that talent go to waste.”
Dr. Parekh added, “My past service on ASCO CancerLinQ committees allowed me the privilege of helping advance an innovative health technology platform that impacts numerous patients with cancer. I am pleased to further my involvement with Conquer Cancer by helping nurture the next generation of promising investigators fighting cancer through the Young Investigator Award program.”
“Conquer Cancer is truly grateful for the generous support of the New Rhein Foundation in providing research funding to help early investigators launch their careers,” said Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Conquer Cancer CEO. “We appreciate the vision and ongoing commitment that Greg Parekh and Subhanu Saxena have shown by supporting opportunities to develop emerging leaders in oncology.”
Find further information about New Rhein Healthcare Industries or the New Rhein Foundation and learn more about the work of Conquer Cancer.