Q&A With Jonathan Thomas
Q) Who is American Century Investments and what is your connection to life sciences?
A) American Century Investments is a leading privately held investment management firm, committed to delivering superior investment performance and building long-term client relationships since 1958. Serving investment professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors, American Century offers a variety of actively managed investment disciplines through an array of products including mutual funds, institutional separate accounts, commingled trusts and sub-advisory accounts. We were founded in 1958 by James E. Stowers Jr. In 1994, Jim established the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The Stowers family endowed the Institute with gifts totaling $2 billion, one of the largest endowments in the world among private biomedical research institutions. The endowment resides in a large cash reserve and its ownership stake in American Century. Since 2000, dividend payments by American Century to SIMR have exceeded $900 million as of May 31.
Q) What is the mission of the Stowers Institute?
A) The mission of the Institute is to make a significant contribution to humanity through medical research by expanding their understanding of the secrets of life, and by improving life’s quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment and prevention of diseases.
Q) The Stowers Institute operates with a very unique model. Tell us about it.
There are three particular unique characteristics about the Institute. First is the approach to funding: SIMR is endowment based, rather than relying on grants like most research organizations. That’s important because it allows scientists to pursue questions whose answers have a long-term payout, and to focus on conducting research, rather than grant writing. Second is SIMR’s heavy investment in technology— about one-third of the scientific budget, which gives their scientists access to the world’s most advanced equipment. Finally, SIMR’s way of translating basic discoveries into applications is quite unique: To translate these basic research findings into cures and treatments for the benefit of patients, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research established BioMed Valley Discoveries, Inc., a translational research and development organization in Kansas City, Missouri. The mission of BioMed Valley Discoveries is to improve human health and advance science by addressing unmet medical needs in areas that are considered too early, too risky, or too small for traditional biotech or pharmaceutical companies. They look to SIMR and anywhere in the world to find and source new ideas and opportunities. I know of no other organization like this in the world.
Q) In addition to your relationship with the Stowers Institute, I understand you also support LIVESTRONG. Can you elaborate?
A) Yes, we support LIVESTRONG in its global fight against cancer in a number of ways. We offer the LIVESTRONG Portfolios to provide investors with a convenient way to take control of their investments while supporting the fight against cancer. Also, for the past seven years, they’ve been the primary beneficiary of proceeds generated by our annual celebrity golf tournament, the American Century Celebrity Championship. The tournament provides LIVESTRONG with another important stage to generate awareness.
For more information about instititional business development at American Century, contact Vice President Margaret Pierce, who is located in the Boston area. She can be reached at 888-900-1018 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.