Back in June, I argued that the most significant economic event of the past decade was “the failure of the Human Genome Project to thus far deliver medically significant results.” I was soundly attacked at that time by all sorts of people, some of arguing that I was an idiot because there was plenty of innovation in the biosciences, and others arguing that I was an idiot because biosciences didn’t matter that much.
Now NIH has woken up and realized that the research breakthroughs in genonomics have not translated into cutting edge medicines. But rather than address the real problems–including excess regulation at the FDA–the decision was made to create a new government agency in competition with the drug companies. From today’s NY Times piece.
The Obama administration has become so concerned about the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry that officials have decided to start a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines.
Creating the center is a signature effort of Dr. Collins, who once directed the agency’s Human Genome Project. Dr. Collins has been predicting for years that gene sequencing will lead to a vast array of new treatments, but years of effort and tens of billions of dollars in financing by drug makers in gene-related research has largely been a bust.
As a result, industry has become far less willing to follow the latest genetic advances with expensive clinical trials. Rather than wait longer, Dr. Collins has decided that the government can start the work itself.
Dr. Collins, this is so not the right move. Why not put some of your prestige towards untangling the regulations that make it more and more expensive for drug companies to get approvals?