Patients suffering from debilitating and life threatening diseases do not have the luxury to wait the 13 years it now takes to translate new scientific discoveries into treatments that could save or improve the quality of their lives. The entire community must work together to forge a new paradigm and NCATS aims to catalyze this effort.
Aware of their own limits, big drug companies are adjusting and experimenting with new ways of encouraging new ideas.
The shortfall in drug R&D has inspired a flood of new partnerships. Charities have been particularly bold, according to The Economist. It reports:
The leading "venture philanthropist" is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It has supported early research and clinical trials, small biotech firms and the biggest of Big Pharma companies, Pfizer. The foundation spent $75m on early research for Kalydeco, which in January became the first approved drug to target the mutated gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Kalydeco is owned by Vertex, a firm based in Massachusetts, but the foundation will get royalties from the drugs sales, which will then support further research. Other charities have followed the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's lead. The Fox Foundation, for example, has spent $289m on research.The Economist says the trend is clear: "Big Pharma now needs a lot of smaller partner."
So How Should I Vote on Nov. 6
Should I vote for Romney who says we should give more money to the military to fight more wars and give less money to government agencies like NIH that are fighting to develop drugs that might extend or improve the quality of my life? Or for Obama who wants to expand government investment in R&D?