Last year, 2015, was anything but quiet in healthcare, between all the new biotechs and drug developments and releases to pricing scandals that demanded political response.
In this video segment, Todd Campbell and Kristine Harjes play "Two truths and a lie" about news in the sector -- find out which bizarre news pieces are true, and how they're leading to exciting new potential for advances in healthcare in the future.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Dec. 28, 2015.
Todd Campbell: I'm going to give you three statements, and what I'd like you to do is tell me which one you think is the lie. So, I'm going to start with the first one -- Bill Gates is investing millions of dollars to study a bacteria's immune system so we can use what we learn to better treat diseases in humans. So, first off is Gates spending millions on bacteria research.
The second one is, whether or not people who are traveling more than five time zones are going to have a new weapon in their arsenal to battle jet lag, ongoing phase three trials, they're currently reviewing a drug which could come to market as soon as 2018.
And the final one -- and one of these is a lie -- is that Phrama Bro Martin Shkreli is back in the news, fresh after posting $5 million in bail, he went back on the Twittersphere, and he said he's ready to become CEO again of another company, as long as one requirement is met: that he can do all the livestreaming and tweeting he wants.
Kristine Harjes: Those are amazing. Okay, so, I think with the second one, you had so many details on there that I am inclined to believe that. And maybe this is just you being very smart and knowing that that's what makes it so convincing. I also believe the first one. So I'm going to go with the Shkreli one being a lie.
Campbell: You got it.
Harjes: Nice! Yes!
Campbell: I thought maybe that by tripping over the second one a little bit, you would be, "Oh, he's going on the fly, that one's not true!" But sure enough, you want ferreted it out.
Harjes: Wow, you really were calculated!
Campbell: Yeah, I was trying to throw a curveball to you, but you caught it.
Harjes: I have to say, the people around this office do a really good job of keeping me up to date on everything that guy does and says, just because it's such a wild story, and everybody knows I'm super into the healthcare space, so, "Oh my gosh, did you see the latest!" So, I would have been surprised if that happened and somebody hadn't told me about it.
Campbell: Yeah, there were a lot of different things we could have done for this episode, but those were three I thought interesting because they all seemed so outlandish. The whole concept. Basically, to go through these, Bill Gates is an investor in a company called Editas, and Editas is researching what could very well be a fascinating story in 2017, about two years from now. What they're doing is, they've discovered that bacteria can fight off invaders or viruses by using a gene editing technique where they take some of the virus's DNA and save it for a later date.
Then, if they see it again, they send out some RNA with some scissors, if you will, that go out and cut into that gene and keep it from replicating, so, keeping the virus from replicating. The theory is, if we can take that immune system defense that bacteria use and apply it in humans, that maybe we can do everything from battle rare genetic disease to better target and destroy cancer.
So, that technology, which is known as CRISPR, is being worked on by a number of companies, including this one that Gates is an investor in. And I think it's a pretty crazy and potentially exciting piece of news.
Harjes: Yeah, that sounds awesome. Is it a publicly traded company?
Campbell: No, not yet. They're venture capital funded. Gates came in, I think it was August, as part of a $120 million capital raise. I wouldn't be surprised though. There's this company and two others, CRISPR is another, named after, of course, the technology.
I wouldn't be surprised if any of these become public in the next year or two, because it really is a unique approach. So, investors should bare this in mind, because it could be enticing, if you will, to investors as CAR-T was in 2015, which, of course, is a new way of attacking cancer, as well.