Eye Bonds Pioneer New Way to Finance Medical Research (and Maybe Help Cure Blindness)
By Simon Gray
Legislation has been introduced in the US Congress to provide a partial government guarantee for $1 billion in Eye Bonds, a five-year pilot program to finance research for curing blindness and develop a new way to finance medical research designed to appeal to impact investors. The green bonds the World Bank has guaranteed since 2007 are one of the models for the program. …The new instruments are the brainchild of Karen Petrou, an influential banking analyst and consultant who has a personal interest in curing blindness – while in high school she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a disorder that leads to progressive impairment of vision and eventually to blindness. At 66, Petrou is now almost completely blind; she has a guide dog and digests voluminous regulatory materials with screen-reading software that blasts her with 400 words a minute.