BlackRock and QLS Advisors Partner Through BlackRock Systematic to Invest in Biomedical Innovation

Jul 18, 2022

Strategies will focus on public and private companies developing potentially life-changing medical treatments

Partnership combines the insights and scale of BlackRock’s active investment platform with QLS’s cutting-edge approach to investing in life sciences

NEW YORK, Jul. 18, 2022 (BUSINESS WIRE) — BlackRock and QLS Advisors LLC, a life sciences technology and advisory firm, have announced a partnership through BlackRock Systematic to develop data-driven investment solutions to help accelerate biomedical innovation. The partnership will leverage the firms’ combined Research and Development and investment experience, directing funding toward public and private companies that have the potential to create transformative therapies while seeking to earn attractive investment returns for clients.

Biomedicine is at an inflection point: breakthrough therapies—with the potential to extend longevity and improve quality of life—are emerging at an ever-increasing pace. Funding these therapeutic development programs has the potential to deliver attractive investment returns, but as biomedicine has grown more complex, so have the risks to investors.

QLS has developed proprietary technology for estimating the probability of success (POS) of clinical trials, a key driver of financial performance, and systematically incorporating these forecasts into fundamental valuation models and portfolio construction algorithms. Their approach applies machine learning techniques to a multitude of predictive factors including therapeutic characteristics, clinical trial design features, disease-specific characteristics, and drug company track records.

This methodology, coupled with BlackRock Systematic’s global platform, proprietary analytics, and more than 35 years1 of data-driven investment experience, presents a differentiated approach to investing in life sciences companies.

Rich Kushel, Head of the Portfolio Management Group (PMG), BlackRock said: “BlackRock’s partnership with QLS applies sophisticated quantitative investment technologies to the intersection of finance, academia, and life sciences. QLS brings an industry-leading approach to investing in life sciences that complements the work that BlackRock Systematic is doing in our actively managed portfolios. We expect this will create compelling, differentiated solutions that can deliver attractive returns for our clients while providing funding for life-changing therapies.”

Andrew Lo, QLS Co-founder and Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management commented: “We founded QLS to improve the way financial resources are allocated to emerging therapies, with the goal of lowering the cost of capital in this important sector. With BlackRock, we gain a partner who is a recognized leader in data-driven investing and shares our passion for delivering investment returns with positive outcomes for society. We’re thrilled and honored to join forces with a firm that has such a strong and trusted global brand, broad network, and access to world-class investment resources.”

BlackRock and QLS have also assembled a Scientific Advisory Council comprising renowned academics, medical doctors, and inventors. The Council will support sourcing, due diligence, and value creation through the members’ vast networks and decades of experience as industry leaders in their respective fields. The Council is expected to include:

  • Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, and founder of over 40 biotechnology companies including Moderna.
  • Ms. Lita Nelsen, retired director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office; now consultant in technology licensing.
  • Dr. Larry Norton, Senior Vice President, Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Past President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASCO David Karnofsky Awardee, FASCO, FAACR.
  • Dr. Richard H. Scheller, Chairman of Research and Development BridgeBio. Board of Directors BridgeBio, Alector, 23andMe, DICE and others. Former Executive Vice President Research and Early Development Genentech and former HHMI Investigator and Professor Stanford University Medical School.
  • Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Biology, geneticist and molecular biologist who co-discovered RNA splicing, co-founded Biogen and Alnylam, and the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

About BlackRock Systematic
BlackRock’s systematic investment platform brings together BlackRock’s community of systematic investors across equity, fixed income, and factor-based strategies. Systematic portfolios combine cutting-edge technology, scientific research, and human insight in the relentless pursuit of investment performance. With over 35 years of experience and nearly 200 professionals across the globe managing over US$200 bn in client assets as of March 31, 2022, BlackRock Systematic partners with clients to deliver quantitative alpha-seeking and factor-based investment solutions for the whole portfolio. For additional information on BlackRock Systematic, please visit

About QLS Advisors
QLS Advisors LLC is a life sciences technology and advisory company based in Cambridge, MA, dedicated to fostering biomedical innovation. QLS employs a unique blend of fundamental and quantitative tools to help clients manage risk, assess reward, and develop investment and financing strategies for portfolios of healthcare-related assets. For more information, please visit


This press release is for distribution in the United States only and should not be distributed in any other markets or to any other persons.

All financial investments involve an element of risk. Therefore, the value of the investment and the income from it will vary and the initial investment amount cannot be guaranteed.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell nor a solicitation to invest in any jurisdiction in which such solicitation is unlawful or to any person to whom it is unlawful. Moreover, it neither constitutes an offer to enter into an investment agreement with the recipient of this document nor an invitation to respond to it by making an offer to enter into an investment agreement.

This material may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include, among other things, projections, forecasts, estimates of yields or returns, and proposed or expected portfolio composition. Moreover, where certain historical performance information of other investment vehicles or composite accounts managed by BlackRock, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries (together, “BlackRock”) has been included in this material and such performance information is presented by way of example only. No representation is made that the performance presented will be achieved or that every assumption made in achieving, calculating or presenting either the forward-looking information or the historical performance information herein has been considered or stated in preparing this material. Any changes to assumptions that may have been made in preparing this material could have a material impact on the investment returns that are presented herein by way of example.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are as of the date on the cover and may change as subsequent conditions vary. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources deemed by BlackRock to be reliable, are not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass. Any investments named within this material may not necessarily be held in any accounts managed by BlackRock. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This document contains general information only and is not intended to represent general or specific investment advice. The information does not take into account your financial circumstances. An assessment should be made as to whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

BlackRock® is a trademark of BlackRock, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© 2022 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 As of June 30, 2022. Years of investment experience includes predecessor firms.

Media Contacts:
Jelena Nedelka