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A Plea for Billionaires

Over at Forbes' Medicine Show blog, Matthew Herper is searching for people in biotech who have become billionaires, and he has only found a few. Patrick Soon-Shiong is worth $5.2 billion; Randal Kirk is worth $2.2 billion; and Michael Jaharis has $1.9 billion, all according to Forbes' lists of billionaires and the richest Americans. While those sound like fortunes, Herper points out that they pale in comparison to entrepreneurs in computer science and information technology sectors like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. "Health care in general is a pretty bad choice of a sector if you want to make a mega-fortune," he says. Part of the problem, he adds, is the time and money it takes to develop new drugs. "As we think about how to invent medicines — and we should think about it, because otherwise we may stop inventing new drugs entirely — we should consider how to make innovators incredibly, dramatically, stunningly wealthy," Herper says.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.