There has been a vast amount of mixed feelings surrounding the biotech/drug company development of drugs and the final price consumers/patients are paying. Especially when one biotech CEO, Martin Shkreli (aka ‘Pharma Bro”) decided to massively increase of a very cheap drug vital to patients with HIV from $13.50 to $750. The actions of one CEO has cast an unjust dark shadow on peers in the industry.
According to Denis Corin, CEO of Q BioMed Inc, a biomedical acceleration and development company, Shkreli’s actions drowned the positive work of hundreds of thousands good corporate citizens in the industry – all judgment cast by one greedy arrogant pharma exec.
“The reason innovators, scientists, well-meaning drug company executives and entrepreneurs, do what we do, has to be rooted in the well- being of the patients we ultimately want to treat. We want to make their lives better. Period. Whether its adding a few healthy years with less pain, or perhaps it’s a life changing cure that will add months or years of comfortable life for patients and their families,” believes Corin.
Life-saving drugs are expensive to develop and for every one that makes it through an overly regulated FDA, over 500 fail. The money has to come from somewhere. Corin believes that there is a balance and what we have seen in the headlines this past while or so is way off the mark and can attest it’s not the way the biotech sector thinks or behaves.
Corin’s own company, Q BioMed Inc, has been working hard to find innovative products and drugs that can accelerate through the development process with the best human capital and least money possible. He recently spoke with The Bio Connection:
Q: What impact did Martin Shkreli (aka “Pharma Bro”) have to the industry?
Corin: I am not sure what the lasting impact is. For the moment its put a spotlight on the cost of drugs and the profit margins associated with those drugs. I think the increased focus on these issues and the overall cost of healthcare, especially in US and the continuing debate around ‘the affordable healthcare act’ and its cost are all contributing to a healthy dialogue. Ultimately it’s making the pharma and biotech’s be more conscious of the issues and what’s going to need to happen to address them.
Q: Why do existing profits makes the pharma system work efficiently? How does providing incentives to keep innovating, making enough profit to make it work, and encourage reinvestment in new ideas and products help?
Corin: Companies need to be profitable to continue to deliver product. But, more so in the pharma industry, we are working new drugs and treatments that have a low probability of making it from concept to revenue. So significant amounts of money need to be invested in innovation and Research & Development that doesn’t always deliver a return on that investment. So, if pharma companies are not making a significant amount of money they simply can’t invest capital into those areas and we’ll have less new drug discovery and testing. That’s not the idea. We need to be continually reinvesting in pipelines of drugs and new potential therapeutics and making old ones better and more affordable.
Q: How we can strike the right balance between price and innovation?
Corin: I am not sure if there’s a silver bullet or a simple answer to that. I believe that as technology improves and diagnoses are made earlier, and regulatory hurdles are lowered, more competition will help make that balance more meaningful.
Q: What can CEO do to raise good will and trust among investors?
Corin: I think just by working hard at delivering good product at reasonable prices and providing a decent return. It sounds simple and the kind of principle any business should run on.
Q: Why are capital markets key to fueling innovation and keeping prices manageable?
Corin: So much innovation and new product development is coming out of the junior biotech sector and academia. This is where the capital markets are funding this development and the future pipelines of big pharma. Most new drugs these days are not organically developed at the big name pharma companies, they are coming from smaller biotech start-ups and that requires the capital markets to be actively funding them.
Q: What sectors are going to experience new innovations, new medicines and drive patient care costs down.
Corin: I think there are number of companies looking to repurpose older drugs and generic drugs. Due to the fact that these may have lower development costs, they should provide better access and better price points. I think the new frontier in oncology is immuno-oncology, checkpoint inhibitors and the newer CAR-T type approaches. There have been some very exciting developments in those areas that give hope that there are some major breakthroughs on the horizon. While the results are encouraging, the fact that they are new and costly to produce and administer, I don’t see the price coming down in the near term, but expect that the economic climate and burdened healthcare system, will encourage reasonable price policies.
For more information about http://www.Qbiomed.com (OTCQB: QBIO)