Our Strategy & Impact

CRI Trustee Excited for Future of Cancer Therapy

  • Carlos Ferrer
    CRI trustee Carlos Ferrer
Carlos A. Ferrer
New York, NY
"I think that is the most exciting component of the story because it gives us a chance to provide some evidence that our monies are being spent on therapies that are efficacious."

Mr. Carlos Ferrer is the founder and a managing member of Ferrer Freeman & Company, LLC, a private equity firm located in Greenwich, CT. He is a former chairman of the Cancer Research Institute Board of Trustees (1997-2001) and has been one of its most active members since he joined the board in 1994. At CRI’s Annual Awards Dinner, Mr. Ferrer received the 2008 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research to celebrate his success in raising CRI’s profile within the pharmaceutical and financial management industries and in ushering CRI through one of the most transformative and expansive periods in its history. In the following interview, Mr. Ferrer describes his involvement with CRI.

CRI: What motivates you to stay involved in the Institute’s leadership?
Mr. Ferrer: I enjoy meeting with the scientists we support, either at a board meeting or at one of our events, and hearing about their particular projects. Also, I think, is the fact that it is such a difficult challenge to raise money for this cause that I don’t feel I should give up. If it were easier, I probably would leave because the challenge wouldn’t be there, but it’s such a difficult thing to do that it brings me back to recommit to helping CRI out.

CRI: In your acceptance speech, you spoke highly of CRI’s business model. What else do you think enables CRI to remain a leader in cancer research?
Mr. Ferrer: Well, the key thing is the network they’ve developed over the years with innovative scientists who provide CRI intimate access to what’s going on that’s most exciting and promising in the world of immunology. The scientists do that because CRI delivered to them during a time in their career when there were probably not a lot of people looking to support their projects. As scientists move along their career path and become better recognized, most of them have this allegiance to CRI because of the relationships built early in their career. That’s not easy to forget and people are grateful for that. It took a while for me to figure this out, but that to me is what makes it special.

CRI: Looking ahead, what do you think that CRI should focus to add to its capacities as a leader?
Mr. Ferrer: I am very excited about the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative clinical trial program we started several years ago. I think that is the most exciting component of the story because it gives us a chance to provide some evidence that our monies are being spent on therapies that are efficacious. Our basic research effort has been the foundation of CRI all these years, but historically it’s been very hard to raise money to support it from donors who want to see tangible results. When you have a deeper track record of having put money behind projects that produce actual patient benefit, it brings our work closer to street level and makes it more understandable to the lay person.

CRI: How has your own life been affected by cancer and how does it motivate you today and add to your experience with CRI?
Mr. Ferrer: There may be more cancer victims in my family than others, but that’s not the reason why I’m dedicated to CRI. I’m dedicated because I think it’s a cool organization and that what they’re doing is something with merit. And for those two reasons it is less personal and more about looking at an institution objectively as to why I think that institution is adding value. That is how I decided to work with CRI to help them become more efficient and more successful.