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Prescription for ChangeThe Looming Crisis in Drug Development$
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Michael Kinch

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630625

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630625.001.0001

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Sea Monsters, Immunauts, and Death Panels

Sea Monsters, Immunauts, and Death Panels

(p.163) Chapter Eight Sea Monsters, Immunauts, and Death Panels
Prescription for Change

Michael Kinch

University of North Carolina Press

We return to the rise of biotechnology, revealing the risks and rewards arising from recombinant DNA technologies as evidenced by the formation and ultimate dissolution of the first biotechnology company. Cetus succeeded in creating innovative breakthrough but its business side lost to competition, hastenign its demise. We then transition to witness the rise and fall of Seattle-based Immunex, which again introduced revolutionary medicines but whose inability to manufacture enough product fated it to be acquired by Amgen. In another venture, a founder of Immunex started a second company, which developed a product that was a technological hit but failed due to a structural means by which new medicines are prescribed. Such challenges were observed and addressed by other startups, such as Amgen and Genzyme, which executed successful scientific and business strategies. The rise of Genzyme in particular reflected an opportunity afforded by the passage of the Orphan Drug Act, which granted special incentives to products targeting low-incidence diseases.

Keywords:   Biotechnology, Recobinant DNA, Orphan Drug Act

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