Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The broken market for antibiotics, continued

 Not only is the market for new antibiotics broken, companies that explore them are going broke.

Here's a story from the WSJ:

The World Needs New Antibiotics. The Problem Is, No One Can Make Them Profitably.  New drugs to defeat ‘superbug’ bacteria aren’t reaching patients   By Dominique Mosbergen

"The push for antibiotics to fight fast-evolving superbugs is snagging on a broken business model. 

"Six startups have won Food and Drug Administration approval for new antibiotics since 2017. All have filed for bankruptcy, been acquired or are shutting down. About 80% of the 300 scientists who worked at the companies have abandoned antibiotic development, according to Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X, a government-funded group promoting research in the field.  


"The reason, the companies say: They couldn’t sell their lifesaving products because the system that produces drugs for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease—which counts on companies selling enough of a new treatment or charging a high enough price to reward investors and make a profit—isn’t working for antibiotics. 

New antibiotics are meant to be used rarely and briefly to defeat the most pernicious infections so bacteria don’t develop resistance to them too quickly. Companies have priced them at 100 times as much as the generic antibiotics doctors have prescribed for decades that cost a few dollars per dose. Most have sold poorly. 


"Most large pharmaceutical companies aren’t developing antibiotics. Several have closed or divested antibiotic development programs. “There’s no profitability,” Hyun said. "

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