Friday, September 19, 2014
When the Biomedical Industry Can’t Prioritize Diseases, Private Money Can Save Lives
Nearly two million people in the U.S. suffer from type 1 diabetes (T1D), and millions more are affected worldwide. The global community affected by T1D needs better treatments and a cure. With so many affected, you might assume drug and medical device makers are racing toward solutions. But for many pharmaceutical and medical device companies, two million is a small figure. (Type 2 diabetes, by contrast, affects at least 25 million Americans.) Given the expense of research, development, and bringing a new device or drug to market—which can easily reach $1 billion—a relatively small potential market discourages investment by large companies.
when the market doesn’t provide the right incentives, philanthropic groups have a unique opportunity to spur advances in treating diseases that affect millions but might otherwise be ignored. From rare diseases to mass epidemics, philanthropic donors and disease advocacy groups can catalyze the development of new therapies and incentivize governments, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device makers to step in and support new treatments.
For five years, Helmsley Charitable Trust has worked with the National Institutes of Health and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to accelerate the creation of new technology for T1D patients....