Madam Therapeutics

Recent events bring the problem of ‘market failure’ back on the political agenda

The traditional drug development pathway doesn’t seem to be sufficient for antibiotics. Take the case of Achaogen, a San Francisco biotech that won one of the first antibiotic approvals in decades last year. Despite its novelty, plazomicin (Zemdri) generated sales less than $1 million; Achaogen filed for bankruptcy just a few weeks ago.

The financial challenges underline one of the ironies around antibiotics: Although they’re sorely needed, they will only be most effective if they’re used sparingly — for the most critical of cases.

Experts agree that it’ll involve a public-private partnership: Government entities, investors, and the industry will have to work together to find better treatments.

Madam Therapeutics is actively pursuing such public-private partnerships, such as the recently established AMR-Global partnership.

In a recent interview, Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra argued that rewarding companies for their drug’s overall efficacy, and broader impact on global health, might allow them to ultimately profit enough that they’ll want to invest in the initial research and development in the first place.

More ideas on market incentive instruments are discussed in the same publication on the website of StatNews.

Madam Therapeutics is member of the BEAM Alliance. This Alliance has written various position papers on this problem, whcih can be found via the site of the BEAM Alliance

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