Social Responsibility

RA Capital has a longstanding commitment to give back to our industry and the broader community. We are fortunate to work in an industry whose guiding principle is to increase our longevity, quality of life, and our collective well-being. We believe that what we do (life science investing) and how we do it (responsibly with social purpose) will help make us and our industry stronger.

Our social responsibility philosophy has three main components:

Supporting institutions that provide necessary food and services in our local communities around Boston

Ensuring that the life science industry continues to improve its innovation engine by i) attracting and supporting diverse professionals and ii) fulfilling its social contract of creating new drugs that are affordable and accessible to all

Protecting our environment and mitigating the environmental impact of running our business

Ensuring That the Life Science Industry Improves Its Innovation Engine

Since its inception, RA Capital has fostered a supportive and team-oriented culture. We empower all team members to contribute to the decision making process as we believe that inclusive teams with diverse perspectives make the best decisions. We believe that embracing diversity helps foster a culture with greater cross-pollination of ideas and sharing of lessons learned, improving our ability to innovate and fulfill our social mission, and ultimately improving business outcomes both within our firm and in our portfolio companies.

With regard to contributing to the broader biomedical ecosystem, we have long shared our own insights in the form of publications, talks, and by teaching courses on the business of biotech. We consider ourselves to be students and always aspire to learn more. Along the way, we give back many of the lessons that we’ve been fortunate enough to learn, reaching industry members all over the world as well as many who are peripherally involved or merely interested in biomedical innovation.

To advocate for patients not being able to afford the medicines they need, we launched a non-profit called No Patient Left Behind. We help patients get access to their medicines and advocate for reforms that preserve innovation in the drug development enterprise. This organization largely emerged from the pages of the book The Great American Drug Deal written by Managing Partner Peter Kolchinsky.

Protecting our Environment and Mitigating our Impact

Our daily work at RA Capital reminds us of the miracles of biology and the importance of the environment to our health and well-being. To minimize our adverse impact on the environment, we regularly look to refine our recycling and product sourcing and to look for new ways to reduce waste and energy use. RA Capital’s offices are powered entirely by renewable energy sources. Our building is also certified with a Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. However, we are still left with residual negative environmental impacts of running our firm. These include our colleagues’ commutes, heating/AC, data center management etc., all of which result in harmful net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. After exploring various GHG offset opportunities, we decided to mitigate this impact by purchasing timberland in Maine to protect valuable wildlife habitat from development and to preserve a permanent carbon sink.

Team Members Exploring the Maine Timberland, Spring 2021

Our work on environmental issues over the years has taught us that GHG and climate change can be difficult to grasp because its long-term effects are not clearly visible today. Our purchase of land directly benefits the environment. But we also wish for our stake in preserving Maine’s wildlife habitat to have symbolic value to our team, inspiring us to think about how we can do more for the environment. Quantifying the degree to which even this much land offsets our carbon emissions is not yet possible. Nor is it enough that we offset only what RA Capital puts out. We hope that our colleagues and others hiking these lands will consider how to actively preserve the best of what our world has to offer for our children and grandchildren and beyond. We invest in new medicines knowing that they will upgrade not just our health but the health of all future generations; similarly, we must preserve our environment against the harms of warming.

Orbeton Stream, Winter 2021

Towards this end, Managing Partner Peter Kolchinsky and other team members have launched a non-profit called JustMap Foundation, which applies our systemic mapping methodology to climate change. Not only will these maps guide our philanthropy, but we believe that by putting complex technological fields into a visual context, as we have done with COVID-19 technologies throughout the pandemic, we may be able to increase the decisiveness of governments, innovators, and investors when considering which set of solutions to pursue. We’ll never be the ones to directly dent problems of this scale, but we think we may be able to catalyze understanding by cutting through the noise. That’s the core of our analytical process.

Strengthening our Local Communities

Boston and its surrounding towns are home to most of our colleagues and their families. Ensuring that our communities remain vibrant and great places for people from diverse backgrounds to live and learn is important to us.  We encourage our colleagues to engage in numerous service activities on an individual and firm level, and support a number of local non-profits, such as the Boston Food Bank, Community Servings and Inner-City Weightlifting.  While we have long bought locally, we have made extra efforts in the COVID era to increase our support of local business.

InnerCity Weightlifting 2019