The M.I.T. project, called New Drug Development Paradigms, has gathered a powerful consortium of interested parties — including major drug makers and federal health authorities. One short-term goal is to identify, and rectify, the root causes of bottlenecks in the existing system. Longer term, the ambition is to create new prediction models, new ways to share information about the biology of diseases, and a new inclusiveness involving earlier participation of regulators, health insurers, health care providers and patients.
If that is to happen, some drug companies that have been fierce rivals will have to play nicer. Think of it not so much as swords into plowshares but as silos into platform-sharing.
The all powerful and perfect god – Free Market – somehow over looked a few things in the drug industry – retaining the trial and error method, spending lots of money on research that dead ended yet not letting other drug companies know so they too could waste money (ultimately paid by consumers in higher prices) duplicating the same research and coming to the same dead end. Probably a phenomenon that gave some drug executives a laugh until it came their turn to reach the point where it was their turn to R&D a miracle drug that was toxic. Now MIT via taxpayers will try and do what the great market god could not, get the pharma giants to be less insecure and stop flushing millions down the drain. While I have reservations about the wisdom of crowds mentality it does work when the information shared is grounded in collaboration with other people who are experts in the same field. Many great minds are generally better then one at solving complex problems associated with disease pathways. It pains me to say something nice about Merck, but they have started a virtual lab that encourages collaboration among researchers working for different companies. Better to have a percentage of a great patent then none at all.
It may sound like a sci-fi vision, but Japan’s space agency is dead serious: by 2030 it wants to collect solar power in space and zap it down to Earth, using laser beams or microwaves.
[ ]….The researchers are targeting a one gigawatt system, equivalent to a medium-sized atomic power plant, that would produce electricity at eight yen (cents) per kilowatt-hour, six times cheaper than its current cost in Japan.
The challenge — including transporting the components to space — may appear gigantic, but Japan has been pursuing the project since 1998, with some 130 researchers studying it under JAXA’s oversight.
So even in the far east the free market god might not be living up to its Randian perfection.