Skip to content
BACK to News

Brain Tumor Investment Fund Names Managing Director 

Published on April 25, 2023

National Brain Tumor Society’s venture philanthropy affiliate appoints industry veteran to lead fund designed to invest in and accelerate development of promising new technologies for patients with brain cancer.

Today, the Brain Tumor Investment Fund, an affiliate of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), announced that it has named John Higgins, a 30-year veteran of the life sciences industry, as its new Managing Director. Mr. Higgins brings accomplishment and experience in biopharmaceutical commercialization and business development, including neuro-oncology focused companies. 

In his new role, Mr. Higgins leads the fund’s work to raise and invest philanthropic capital and leverage NBTS’s expertise to advance promising emerging biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostic companies to ultimately benefit patients facing a brain tumor diagnosis.   

“In a short period of time, the Brain Tumor Investment Fund has made several impactful investments in innovative companies in the field of neuro-oncology,” said David Arons, JD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Brain Tumor Society. “We’re thrilled to bring John on at a point when the fund is ready to expand its capacity, identify emerging opportunities, and make strategic investments to help innovative companies either at the seed or growth stage accelerate development of potentially transformative, patient-centric treatments and diagnostics. John’s experience with biopharmaceutical companies of all sizes and stages will provide tremendous value to our team as we seek to attract new innovators to the field and build a pipeline of future therapies urgently needed for patients.”

Prior to joining the Brain Tumor Investment Fund, Mr. Higgins served as Vice President, Commercial and Corporate Development at Istari Oncology, a clinical-stage company formed to develop and commercialize an investigational immune activator for glioblastoma and other solid tumors. John was integral in Istari’s Series B raise of over $40M, as well as starting the business development function and creating a significant number of business relationships for the company.

Previously, Mr. Higgins served as President and General Manager of ProStrakan Inc. (now Kyowa Kirin), leading the transformation of their U.S. oncology business into a profit-contributor for the international pharmaceutical group. He also has held roles of increasing responsibility with companies including AstraZeneca, Baxter Healthcare, NicOx Inc., and Cytogen.

“The Brain Tumor Investment Fund is well-positioned at the convergence point of equity investing and philanthropic support to positively impact an area of huge unmet medical need,” said Mr. Higgins. “It’s a unique opportunity to leverage my experience in the private sector and my knowledge of the neuro-oncology industry to help further the vision of the National Brain Tumor Society to conquer and cure brain tumors. I’m excited to join this group of talented professionals whose mission and passion have already helped so many patients and caregivers impacted by brain tumors. Together, we’ll help bridge the gap between traditional charitable and governmental grant-making to academia and private companies to accelerate development and get effective new technologies into the hands of doctors and patients who desperately need them.”

About the Brain Tumor Investment Fund

The Brain Tumor Investment Fund is a growing and diverse venture philanthropy fund that leverages the National Brain Tumor Society’s (NBTS) experience, expertise, and achievement. The fund supports NBTS’s vision to conquer and cure brain tumors by investing in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies developing products to improve the lives of brain tumor patients. 

The Brain Tumor Investment Fund seeks to spark private sector investment in brain tumor research and to create a robust and diverse market for drug development, while increasing the likelihood of success for companies bringing life-changing products to market. Learn more at 

About the National Brain Tumor Society

Building on over 30 years of experience, the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) unrelentingly invests in, mobilizes, and unites the brain tumor community to discover a cure, deliver effective treatments, and advocate for patients and caregivers. Our focus on defeating brain tumors and improving the quality of patients’ lives is powered by our partnerships across science, health care, policy, and business sectors. We fund treatments-focused research and convene those most critical to curing brain tumors once and for all. Join us at

Sign Up to Stay Informed!