In the previous parts to this series I’ve covered both why the biopharma industry is ripe for disruption, and what the markets might be that could support a nascent, potentially disruptive technology until it matures enough to allow it to supplant the current dominant industry players. In this final part I’d like to ask what disruption would look like and provide some examples of directions and companies that exemplify what are, to my mind, these sorts of disruptive technologies and approaches. With, I might add, the complete and utter knowledge that I’m wrong about who and what specifically will be disruptive! But in any case, before we can identify disruption, it’s worthwhile to ask what are the key elements of biopharma drug development that serve as real bottlenecks to affecting human health, since these are the elements most likely to provide an avenue for disruption. Continue reading →
All opinions my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Novo Nordisk.
A fair amount of reporting (for example here, here and here) has gone into the recent news that the NIH and the descendants of Henrietta Lacks have reached an agreement about the conditions under which the genome sequence of the HeLa cell line will be shared. The basic parameters are that researchers wanting access to the data will need to apply for permission, the application committee will include members of the Lacks family, any publications will acknowledge the contribution of the Henrietta Lacks, and future genome sequences will be submitted to dbGAP.
This is a generally welcome development, and in no small part due to the work of Rebecca Skloot. Her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks provided the impetus to the current developments by popularizing the story of Ms. Lacks and the cell line derived from her tissues. However, this agreement also can be seen as a precedent of sorts, and the future implications for the ethics of consent, genetic information sharing and genomic research are unclear.
Whose genome is it, anyway?
In Pasco Phronesis, David Bruggeman penned a post on some of the possible implications. He discusses one of the key elements of genetic consent that I generally haven’t seen elaborated on much in the current literature: familial consent and exposure. To what extent do those who share part of a sequenced genome have a say in the granting and rescinding of consent for the usage of genetic information? Continue reading →