The investment process evaluates ESG in the context of risk and opportunities as a core part of the due diligence procedure that underpins every investment decision. To our mind, the most important ESG aspect of the medical development process is the potential positive impact novel therapeutics can have on society: the aspiration of the biotech companies in which we invest is to develop drugs that address unmet medical needs.
With all of BB Biotech´s investments focusing on biotechnology as a subsector of the healthcare industry, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 3: «Good Health and Well-being», is at the core of BB Biotech’s investment strategy and our portfolio companies. Providing companies with capital and engagement as long-term shareholder, in order to allow for drug development to ensure and improve healthy lives and promote well-being is at the core of BB Biotech. Therapies that address unmet medical needs, for example of patients suffering from rare disorders, cancer, neurological diseases and chronic cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, are a key investment selection criterion. Investing in development stage companies with innovative products and leading technology often means an initial limited access followed by a broad and equitable access over time.
The goal is to improve the patient’s quality of life, ideally curing the disease, with the treatment making a substantial and important positive difference to patients and being a relief to healthcare systems more generally. Since its inception in 1993, BB Biotech’s portfolio companies have developed a number of products that radically changed the way a disease is treated. Drug development is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. In order to become a successful biotech company, high governance standards are key at all levels, from pre-clinical research, developing, managing and advancing clinical development programs, manufacturing drugs and making drugs accessible to the healthcare system and patients.
The Board of Directors of BB Biotech AG is aware that our activities inevitably have direct or indirect consequences on environmental, social and corporate governance issues and that these consequences are our responsibility. In order to improve our governance structure in terms of sustainability, the Board of Directors has decided to introduce a ’Sustainability and Governance Committee’. Engagement with both the portfolio companies as well as the investment manager (Bellevue Asset Management AG) have always been an integral part of the board of director’s responsibilities. Bellevue Asset Management is committed to the assessment and management of ESG factors as a core principle. It is a signatory to the UN PRI and, as such, is committed to report publicly its ESG strategy and results. It has a clear and transparent ESG policy in place that all employees must adhere to and which defines corporate practices for environmental, social and governance subjects at all levels of the organization. This publicly available ESG policy also sets standards in regard to equality and the promotion of employee well-being and includes our guiding principles for employee incentive plans. Bellevue Asset Management reviews all of BB Biotech´s investments systematically for sustainability risks and breaches of elementary human rights (as defined, for example, by UN Global Compact principles). The investment process thereby encompasses clearly defined ESG investment guidelines which are compliant with Art. 8 EU SFDR 2019/2088 rules as well as recommendations of Asset Management Association Switzerland (AMAS) and Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF).