First, acknowledgment is due to jimmy667, nidan, Talon, and other posters who have put forth so many excellent thoughts and information about the promise of this consortium.
This consortium of BP, academia, researchers, biotechs, and regulatory bodies working collaboratively to tackle medicine is what I referred to in a past post (long past!) as a veritable “United Nations” of medicine cooperating instead of competing for the greater good of all. This is the espirit de corps necessary, I believe, to further medical treatments, as we have seemingly reached an impasse, working independently.
It took the Amyloid Theory to fail in order for several entities to join their efforts and recognize that more heads are better than one, and greater resources will be needed to agree upon a single new approach. We are there, I wager there is little doubt. Things must fall apart before they can fall together again.
One stumbling block long faced by science was that Amyloid used to be the only tangible/visible evidence which could be measured and quantified in regard to Alzheimers disease. And, it led nowhere. So much for measurable evidence. And the saying holds true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Good thing. That’s the apparent and logical foundation of building a better model for measuring disease hallmarks or biomarkers. This time, we step back, assemble a team, and build upon what we have learned from the failures of 30 years - positive and negative lessons. It’s all useful. Famous quote: I never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him (want to say Aristotle...too lazy to google, its out there).
We learned how to lay a stronger foundation upon ruins. We will go on to better identify and systematize hallmarks and markers for a great many diseases. That’s jolly well done. The shared knowledge will be the key which will unlock many doors...let’s hope most/all.
I think of the consortium in two ways. The first way is (Xena, please start the metaphor meter, patent pending!):
Camelot / The Arthur Legend /Knights of the Round Table
Assemble the best, brightest, most noble swords to be equal and fight for the right of all. Such a noble ideal that was. And, now applicable to science/medicine. Who says great stories don’t inspire real life??
The consortium (Camelot) will fight for Right! Not Might! And, henceforth, Might will not make Right! That’s truly man’s finest feat - to advance causes because they are right, not because they are powerful. Hats off to humanity, we are learning.
(Note: my favorite palindrome used to be “A man, a plan, a canal; Panama.”
Somehow, the BP’s for years were spouting, “A man, a plan, a canal; Suez.” SMH...soooo close! And the beginning provides the answer to the end!)
So, giant BP’s will now/henceforth be at the mercy of tried, true, proven, science for a change, instead of the amount of money and influence they wield. Yes! They will be subject to the same agreed upon bonafide scientific rigors which all are subject to. No more jumping the queue because of the size of your trial or market cap or amount of lobbyists you have. This consortium actually will allow a young, clever, adept, boy to pull Excalibur from the stone and be crowned King. (And, I believe one, or many, shall! In many fields. Once the field of honor has been cogently marked off, agreed to, and all can compete evenly. Major improvement number one - we must see everyone as equal [round table] and agree upon set rules.) Does anybody else feel as though, prior to this very civilized effort, BP’s and regulatory bodies and therefore the medicines which made it to and through trials basically followed Marquis of Queensbury Rules? Finally, some Hoyle.
Long live Camelot...our chance at that sword in the stone!
The second way I view the consortium, privately, is this absolutely unknown, tiny, island, in the Pacific, virtually immaterial, except to a few brilliant strategists.
What role did the barely discernible dot on the map, unpronounceable Iwo Jima, play in WWII? What odds would the Vegas bookies have given that piece of turf as the turning point of the war and of saving many thousands of lives in protracted warfare? Odds greater than 1,000 to 1 before the war that this never before heard of island shortens the war.
History has recorded the two-fold value of the strategy: keeping their (Axis) bombers from refueling at Iwo to reach the European theater and drop their bombs, while, simultaneously, providing the Allies a place to land and refuel to reach Japan with bombers and force a surrender. (They had no intention. Iwo was not captured in 2-3 days, as per command’s initial assessment. The island was undermined with trenches and bunkers which cost many marines’ lives RIP and lengthened the island’s takeover time well over a month. Hell. Thank you to those real soldiers for their service. Anniversary was in Feb.)
Does the consortium represent the kind of strategic thinking of occupying a tiny Pacific island in the battle for winning the war on drugs? Well, we must stop enemy bombers from dictating the casualties from ongoing costly trials and approval of drugs which only seek to alleviate chronic conditions, chronically. We must take over the landing strips (just dirt!) and gain control of the operations flying on and off that sulfur island to shorten the war on drugs which don’t treat causes, only symptoms. Semper fi, dogs! Raise the flag high!
No need to wax eloquent about the happy irony that Allied and Axis forces are united in this war: Merck, Takeda, Alkermes, Anavex, Cognision, FDA, Sage. That island is of great value to everyone who uses it. And, I believe that as long as those who use it, use it to end the war on BP stronghold on drugs, all are welcome and will add tremendous value. Then, we will read those sad, failed, jubilant, heroic, victorious “Letters from Iwo Jima” the modern equivalent of brilliant offense and defense.
One other thing I wanted to mention:
Please never forget, and give credit where credit is due, that many of the old guard we are up against, out-resource us by many orders of magnitude. However, it is a fact that most of today’s giants in BioPharma arena, were smaller apothecaries or chemical and dye manufacturers before entering pharmacy. Bayer was the chemical dye plant which manufactured lethal agents during WWII for the government’s horrendous agenda. They profited from being an efficient killing machine. This was before regulatory bodies and the very popular Bayer aspirin sitting in your medicine cabinet since. They grew their market cap on blood money.
Eli Lilly was an apothecary/ chemist in Indiana. That concern, worth billions today, started by introducing insulin and producing penicillin for masses. Innovations that were extremely necessary, saved millions from a certain death sentence. Eli Lilly actually lobbied for a regulatory body in the US to require “prescriptions” for medications. In 1906, this passed Congress.
Merck, German-parent Co, became wealthy by producing and distributing morphine and cocaine. No regs.
The giants we face today had a colossal head start. Many started in the late 1700’s and 1800’s. They played at a time when the conditions were vastly different and amassed great wealth. Can they still compete in the same way today?? In the modern era?? (Think back to that not so irrelevant baseball thread involving Tom Seaver’s dementia diagnosis and noting all the greats who could not be compared across changes in the sport. If statistics could be measured across time, lists would be different today.) Ok, no going back, that’s fair. But, we are the small new company now without the wealth resources and facing regulations like none before, but with the value and innovation to save all generations to come from fates as bleak as diabetes once was.
Now, these giants, have the old, inherited Monopoly money from days gone by in their war chests. We are the new kid on the block - hungry and looking for our opportunity.
What do we see happening? While the old guard puts up a new drug every so often for non-devastating illnesses (ED, baldness, dry skin, pet meds - PET MEDS!!!, big market!!), they are leading in the game, yet they are playing for one run.
Meanwhile, Anavex is in the position of viewing the field of CNS diseases through a very wide lens - the way pharmaceutical companies did before they were fat and rich, before there were regulatory bodies, and trying to broadly sweep entire genres of maladies off the map with the aid of technology. Get new biomarkers discovered, tested, measured, approved. We have a Herculean task to compete with the forerunners in this field who did not face regulatory bureaucracy and catch up with them in one swing of the bat, not penny ante poker hands. Perhaps that’s why the regulatory bodies were put in place...pulling the ladder up behind them?
In any case, the consortium should and will allow us to construct a vast empire by tackling diseases en masse with the latest, up to the minute precision tools and we can now rely more and more on technology to put up many runs, secure the Pacific Island for the good guys, and make Merlyn proud.
Next batter: Anavex, swinging for the fences, batting clean up, cleared for take off, and seated nobly among our peers at a perfectly round table.
This is a great time to be alive...what an epoch!