Subsidized science – The Scientist
A very interesting story:
Baltimore-based company Champions Biotechnology has a business tale to tell, one reminiscent of Robin Hood. But there’s no robbing of the rich in this story. Rather, Champions uses revenue from premium services offered to wealthy clients to subsidize risky—and hard-to-fund—research.
And how do they do it?
Champions spent $1.7 million on R&D in fiscal year 2009, and it gathers those funds through a unique business approach: Research is funded with revenue from premium oncology services, offered to a select clientele. The company creates “personalized tumorgrafts” for cancer-stricken individuals, each to the tune of $100,000; mice carrying a client’s unique tumor then get slammed with a cocktail of drugs and characterized through both molecular profiling and computer modeling. It’s called “theranostics”—diagnostic, tailored therapy for individual patients. “We get an incredible amount of information from these models; they’re hit with up to 60 drug combinations, including experimental and Phase II candidates,” says Sidransky. “So while helping themselves, [our wealthy clients] also fund R&D for everyone else.”
Full story here: http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/56163/ (Registration required)