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what really caught my attention was the plot of introduction and bacterial resistance over time. the newest antibiotics produced had a "shelf-life" of an order of magnitude less than their predecessors.
Some of that is because most new antibiotics aren't really all that new. The one on that list with the shortest "shelf life", levofloxacin, is a fluoroquinolone. We had already been using fluoroquinolones for 25 years by the time lefofloxacin came around.
Part of the problem is start up costs. To do serious research you need labs, equipment, researchers, staff, test subjects, etc. If you have that much money the bounty had better be huge so that you do not just decide to play the stock market or real estate instead.
And that is why biotech is funded by VC firms and eccentric rich folks.
If you look at any of the well-known names in the great advances in the science of medicine, rarely will you see a for-profit corporation listed.
But if you look at the big advances from over the past 30 years. PCR? Corporate. Cure for hepatitis? Corporate. Advances in DNA sequencing? Corporate.
things got privatized, subsidies got cut down because government spending had to be cut down because of
The subsidies didn't get cut (well, maybe for a year or so during the last recession), they even increased faster than inflation most years. They just haven't grown nearly as fast as the cost of research. The concept of "low hanging fruit" applies big time to drug discovery, and the fruit that are left are much harder (and more expensive) to pick than the ones people chased in the 70's and the 80's. That said, year in, year out, about 25% of new drugs are invented in academia, principally through public funding. They are then licensed out to Pharma for the expensive part: clinical trials.