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Morgan Stanley Attempts to Bridge the 'Valley of Death'

Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures is the first special interest initiative of the Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust.

Morgan Stanley announced the launch of Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures, in partnership with the Harrington Discovery Institute, on Tuesday at its annual The Exchange conference. This is the first special interest initiative of the Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust (GIFT), and it is dedicated to advancing the development of research discoveries into new cures and treatments for a broad range of diseases, with a particular focus on certain breakthroughs that may otherwise fall through the cracks for financial reasons.

Dr. Jonathan Stamler, Director of the Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland—just one of several medical and research luminaries on hand Tuesday at the announcement panel—sums up the problem neatly: “There are thousands of medical discoveries that sit on the benches of our academic institutions and literally die on the vine. This problem or market failure has a name—the valley of death—a gap in funding and know-how for scientific breakthroughs that are insufficiently validated and de-risked to enter local trials.”

The stated goal of the GIFT Cures program is to attempt to create a bridge to shepherd nascent breakthroughs safely over the “valley of death.”

Morgan Stanley GIFT is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that provides the firm’s clients access to a donor-advised fund, supporting organizations and other planned giving strategies. It has managed over $1.7 billion in total charitable grants since its inception in 2000. All funds donated to Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures will be managed within the Morgan Stanley GIFT donor-advised fund to advance Harrington Discovery Institute’s mission of advancing breakthrough scientific discoveries throughout the U.S. and the U.K. into cures.

The Harrington Discovery Institute was established in 2012 and seeks to create a new system for developing breakthrough discoveries into medicines, primarily in answer to two challenges: Why so many promising medical breakthroughs fail to yield life-enhancing and life-saving new drugs, and where financial and other resources should be invested to improve and accelerate success.

According to Melanie Schnoll Begun, head of philanthropy management at Morgan Stanley, the program was created “[I]n response to client demands for more concrete results from their philanthropy in the search for cures.”

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