Biotechnology related developments in Argentina have gained momentum in the past few years. The creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovative Production in 2007 that focuses on high-tech growth in technology related fields including biotechnology, demonstrates the public sector commitment to a field with a thriving business sector and promising improvements in research and development. By embracing its agricultural advantage and investing in research and innovation, Argentina has seen its stock of biotech companies grow to 120, of which 90 percent are domestic small and medium size. Today, biotechnology researchers in Argentina engage in international collaboration with other scholars and globally recognized institutions and the country has bilateral agreements with other countries to support biotechnology related research and development. There are many governmental and non-profit organizations that are influential in shaping Argentina’s vision on biotechnology. Although the government places importance in providing support in biotechnology research, innovation and investment, the paper argues that the rapid growth trends in the industry requires biotechnology to become higher on the national agenda. The lack of a royalty collection system, the absence of patent protection, and the inadequate sources of venture capital still remain as important problems. Attracting new forms of foreign capital, higher investment in infrastructure, building on existing regional and global networks in research and development, are all important areas for improvement to advance biotechnology in Argentina.
Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology
We are in the midst of dramatic changes in the way life sciences companies are funded. The model of funding a company with venture capital leading to an IPO is now the exception rather than the rule for life sciences companies. Venture investors are no longer willing or able to fund companies with an indefinite exit. Instead, they are waiting later to fund companies, building exits into their investments from the start, and looking to innovative technologies other than therapeutics that can address medical and healthcare system needs, but provide a more predictable path to revenue. The financial pressures of today are leading to creative efforts to forge new business and financing models. They are driving capital efficiency and putting a proper emphasis on value creation. The resulting discipline is welcome. The result is that companies that fail to pursue true innovation and products that create value will find funding difficult to obtain and markets unwilling to pay premiums. For those of us who invest in the sector, the good news is that valuations are historically attractive and power at the negotiating table lies with those who have capital. The opportunities before us have never been greater.Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology
Molecular diagnostic (MDx) tests are now commonplace in virtually every hospital and pathology laboratory, however many questions have arisen, such as “What do diagnostic laboratories require from the MDx revolution in order to better improve patient care?” and “Is a fully integrated ‘black-box’ device the answer to simple rapid diagnostic testing or do mainstream laboratories require more in terms of available testing menu and streamlined workflow?” With more and more ‘black-box’ devices available on the market, laboratories need to first decide if they need to make such an investment, and if so, in which to make the most appropriate investment, whilst also considering the cost of consumables. Currently the associated costs of an integrated solution can be prohibitive for small to medium sized laboratories, however this does not necessarily mean that they need to miss out on the many benefits that MDx testing can bring. Here we examine what role an open-platform suite of MDx assays can play in the MDx testing landscape. In order to be successful we assume that open-platform tests will utilise a universal sample preparation method for all sample types and be compatible with a broad range of existing Real-Time PCR hardware. This is in effect the ‘Microsoft’ model, which provides software compatible with existing hardware, compared to the ‘Apple black-box’ model of supplying both the hardware and software. Clearly there is a place for both approaches in the clinical diagnostic sector, but until the ‘black-box’ systems broaden their testing menu for all sample types and reduce the cost of consumables, their use may be limited to single analyte niche testing rather than being a central workhorse in the mainstream hospital and pathology laboratories. The goal for testing laboratories is to provide rapid and definitive identification of pathogens in order to aid optimal patient management. In the current setting this is only available by using a battery of tests from different manufacturers, or by relying on traditional methods that can take several days to generate a result. It is proposed that a true open-platform MDx testing system may bring the benefits of rapid and accurate testing to many small to medium laboratories without the need for a large upfront investment and associated high consumable costs.Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology
In 2010 healthcare represented 17.9% of GDP; its cost is growing significantly faster (~5%) than economic growth (~ 2%). This growth presents a challenge to all payers, whether they are governments, employers, or individuals. Within healthcare, one of the most rapidly growing areas is “specialty drugs” which are frequently biotechnology agents, or drugs for cancer or orphan conditions. This article starts by discussing the issues of specialty drug cost and the challenges payers face in managing specialty drugs. It then presents market structure and firm strategy theories that provide insight into firm behavior in specialty drug categories. Lastly, it discusses possible events and actions that could dramatically change the biotechnology industry and lead to increased value within the U.S. health care system.Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology