Dec 162009

This is so stupid it’s infuriating.

Subsidized science

“Baltimore-based company Champions Biotechnology has a business tale to tell, one reminiscent of Robin Hood. But there’s no robbing of the rich in this story. Rather, Champions uses revenue from premium services offered to wealthy clients to subsidize risky—and hard-to-fund—research.”


“Champions spent $1.7 million on R&D in fiscal year 2009, and it gathers those funds through a unique business approach: Research is funded with revenue from premium oncology services, offered to a select clientele. The company creates ‘personalized tumorgrafts’ for cancer-stricken individuals, each to the tune of $100,000…”


“By R&D, Sidransky is referring to Champions’ separate bank of anonymous tumorgrafts, or mice carrying tumors—grafted from spare tissue acquired through collaborations with academic institutions.”


“Peter Houghton, director of the Children’s Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, considers tumorgraft models ‘very good for identifying active drugs.’ Houghton is openly skeptical, however, about applying this technology to individuals…”


“In the meantime, the company is getting kudos for its unique business model. ‘I don’t think [using premium services to fund R&D] is done in practice today, though I like the idea,’ says Stuart Barich, Oppenheimer’s managing director.”

Are we living on Bizarro World?! Where do I begin to show how completely ass-backwards the author’s understanding of economics is? Continue reading »

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