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Comment If...., you might be on a watchlist (Score 1) 400

If you get routine free anal exams from the TSA, you might be on a watchlist.

If your state troopers know you by your first name, you might be on a watchlist.

If you see men wearing dark sunglasses staring in your windows, you might be on a watchlist.

If the bank tellers always call someone on the phone everytime you go into the bank, you might be on a watchlist.

If you PC camera turns on by itself all the time, you might be on a watchlist.

Comment Re:You must choose.... (Score 5, Informative) 345

I worked in the pharma industry for a bit so let's look at some numbers:

Pharma business is split into 3 basic areas: Discovery, Development, Commercial.

Discovery: 10k molecules are examined to get to 250 that look promising and down to about 5 to get sent into development. This takes about 5 years. Costs vary wildly. Key concept (among many) here is molecules get thinned down usually because they don't work or aren't safe (Chlorox), but sometimes you just can't manufacture it even if you wanted to make it.

Development: Those 5 are then put through Development which is composed of pre-clincals (tissues and at least 2 species of animals), phase 1, 2a, 2b and 3 trials (human). The patent on the molecule is done early in this process and is good for 20 years. Development lasts about 9 years and costs around US$800m. Key concept here (again out of many) is molecules get dropped off here due to their ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion) properties. If you can't deliver the molecule to where it needs to go, it won't work as a drug.

Commercial: Out of Development, there is only about 1 molecule that becomes a drug. You've now spent upwards of US$1b including the cost of failures. The new drug has a patent for around 12 years or so (remember you patented it early in the Development phase). If you don't make that $1b back somehow, you won't be in business very long to develop other drugs. You now have cost of manufacture. This is usually pretty small for small molecule drugs that can be put into a pill, but can be expensive for large molecule (biologic) drugs that are intravenous (think insulin). You also have to collect data and send it to regulatory bodies (phase 4).

So this guy has found a few molecules (one that is hard to get any kind of quantity of from TFA) that are part of the 10k funnel at the beginning of the process. Could be that companies have other compounds that they are exploring that are further in the process. They may be seeing if those fail before starting to look at his. Super-bugs aren't new so companies may have been looking at them already (5 yr Discovery funnel).

And before anyone goes whining about Big Phara, think what you would do if you spent a billion dollars on developing ONE item and had tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of employees that you would like to keep around. How would you decide WHAT to develop and HOW to price it?

Comment Re:The Law of Unintended Consequences... (Score 5, Insightful) 611

I owned a mall-based cookie/cafe store and also a pretzel store. Margins on meal normally run 3x-4x the cost of ingredients to account for labor, electricity, waste, etc. that the poster stated above. But the margin on bakery goods depends on the holding time of the good. The longer the item lasts, the lower the margin needed. On the cookies we sold, the holding time was 3-4 hours and the margin was around 6x-7x. For pretzels, the holding time was 30 minutes and the margins are around 30x-40x. That pretzel you buy at the mall is SERIOUSLY cheap to make, but you throw them out ALL the time because they get stale so quickly. My favorite item to sell was bottled water. Lasted basically forever and and I made 10x margin on it; even better than my fountain drinks. And believe me, it's true when they say most of the profits a store makes is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. the busy season at the mall really helps because you crank out goods and your not throwing stale items away like you do during a normal period.

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