“People are the currency of life.” – Osagie Imasogie
This is the English translation of “eyan ni owo aye,” a Yoruba proverb that animates Osagie Imasogie. It is also the mantra of the life sciences investment firm that he founded and leads. The philosophy of the Yoruba, Osagie’s mother’s people from southwestern Nigeria, plays a foundational role in Osagie’s success as an entrepreneur, his commitment to his chosen philanthropic outlets and his passion for lifting up the people around him.
As an entrepreneur, Osagie believes in a three-step framework: conceptualization—you have to come up with a great idea; communication—you have to articulate the “why” so that it resonates with others; and actualization—you have to execute. Osagie would suggest that the second step might be the most important and that storytelling is the most effective way to convey ideas and to motivate people. This is where the Yoruba proverb comes in.
Osagie’s firm, PIPV Capital, which he co-founded and has operated with the same two partners for almost 20 years, acquires intellectual property-protected life sciences assets with the objective of maximizing their value for all stakeholders. “Our focus is on building deep, meaningful relationships. Full stop. We believe if we do that, we will be able to source the best deals, execute and deliver effective exits. If we had our druthers, we wouldn’t even have a website.”
In his philanthropic work, Osagie focuses on education and the arts, serving on the executive committee of the boards of the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and as Chair of the board of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He believes that education offers the best leverage. “If you invest in educating one student, that person may grow up to be the next Marie Curie—the only person to win two Nobel Prizes—or Charles Drew—who pioneered blood storage. Every single person has the potential to have a profound impact on humanity.”
For Osagie, the arts are the foundation of civilization. They create joy and soothe our soul. They enable us to expand our minds, experience our emotions and connect with others. In other words, the arts make us human.
When he thinks about his children, Osagie believes it is important to engage them in discussions about the values that underpin his outlook on financial assets and human relationships. Indeed, Osagie’s children are imbued with the Yoruba proverbs. They have absorbed the concept of “ashe”—that they have the power to create change for the benefit of others. Osagie wants his assets to assist his children but not be a burden. “I don’t want to limit their ability to become who they are.”
Osagie says that P.A.T.C.O.L. was behind his attraction to Brown Advisory, in addition to his multidecade relationship with Joe Cozza, his New York-based portfolio manager. “We look at the world in a similar way. How you treat people matters. Your probity. The value of your word. How you conduct yourself, in good times and bad. These things matter.”