Alexis Borisy, one of the biopharmaceutical industry's most successful entrepreneurs, recently raised $200 million to launch a new company called EQRx. While the amount raised isn't unusual, the mission driving EQRx has raised eyebrows: Bring down exorbitant drug prices.
Another Borisy-founded company called Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ:BPMC) recently launched its first cancer drug, Ayavakit, with an eye-popping $32,000 list price for a 30-day supply. In stark contrast, EQRx will develop new therapies with the intention of selling them at generic drug prices.
Here come the equivilars
EQRx wants to develop drugs that work along the same lines as treatments that are already popular but with enough differences not to infringe on any existing patents. EQRx's forthcoming line of products are called equivalars and the company plans to price these equivalars at significant discounts to the blockbusters they aim to displace.
Borisy and EQRx have been fairly tight-lipped about the details, but that hasn't stopped the start-up from presenting some ambitious goals. By redesigning the development process, the company aims to launch its first drug within five years and market 10 approved medicines before the end of its first decade.
The development process upgrades EQRx has planned for the biopharma industry are still shrouded in mystery, but that hasn't stopped the company from raising capital from venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures. It will probably be another couple of years before we know which biopharmaceutical product profit margins the company will target first, but pharma stocks that rely heavily on one or two blockbusters could be shaking in their boots as EQRx makes progress. With this kind of backing, the endeavor could draw heaps more attention down the road.