When it comes to immuno-oncology and Alzheimer’s, innovative research is underway, says Ann Gallo, a senior vice-president and partner at Wellington Management Company in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Gallo, who co-manages the Renaissance Global Health Care Fund, explains, “Immuno-oncology is an area that we’ve been very focused on for the past couple of years. It’s our view that we still are at the very early stages of this development cycle. Oncology is basically the process of harnessing an individual’s immune system to go after cancer, [which] involves the breakdown of an individual’s immune system.”

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She and her team choose leading research companies, says Gallo. “Many of the companies in our portfolio are leading participants in the immuno-oncology field and we’re just starting to see the fruits of their developments in research work over the past decade.” Her team’s invested in U.S. and international equities, and names in their top 10 (as of September 30, 2016) include Merck & Co Inc. and Allergan PLC—which recently acquired a company focused on treating neurodegenerative disorders.

Developments related to Alzheimer’s are also promising, says Gallo, who notes, “[This is] another example of innovation. In the past, Alzheimer’s has been an area that has been very difficult to address from a scientific standpoint: most of the drugs, if not all, have proven to fail in clinical trials as it relates to [treating] Alzheimer’s.”

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Still, Gallo and her team invest in companies developing Alzheimer’s drugs. “We’re looking now at […] companies that [are working on] very interesting compounds. They’re in the late stages of clinical trials and, to the extent that we’ve seen some successes here, this will also create a very attractive group opportunity for healthcare investors.”


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