.
D

uring the global pandemic, I stood in awe of the market forces which unleashed an unprecedented level of international collaboration and innovation within the pharmaceutical industry to design vaccines. A positive side effect of Operation Warp Speed (as it was known in the United States) is that the public will likely be less tolerant of the length of time it currently takes to move a treatment to a patient due to bureaucratic barriers or a perceived lack of willingness for companies and/or governments to invest in pre-competitive innovation platforms like data collection.

The laser focus of global media surrounding the process for creating the vaccines and distributing them educated us about product distribution, underlying health conditions, and health disparities that increase challenges for those in underserved communities worldwide. As we educated ourselves on the multidimensional levels of health inequality, the process demonstrated the requirement to move innovative products through the pipeline more quickly to ease patients concerns and ailments. COVID-19 may have been the disease but heightened risk due to pre-existing conditions should be part of our public health discussions. We need to solve underlying problems, and creating a range of incentives should there be an opportunity to push advancement with support from multinational governing bodies, industry, governments and the consumer.

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD writes about the need to incentivize incremental innovation in his book, The Great American Drug Deal. He asks: “What’s the smallest increment of medical innovation that is worth its cost to society? And what’s an adequate incentive to get to that innovation?” A key factor Dr. Kolchinsky addresses is that we “sometimes fail to incentivize industry to explore new uses or upgrades for existing drugs.” His point is to question how many drugs are “trapped in their [current] form that is less convenient or less safe than they could be?” In high tech, we constantly build and upgrade to improve the ease of use of software or a device to meet consumer demand. Designing a fast-track pathway for the repurposing of a solution that works for one disease to quickly allow for its use in an adjacent disease is one regulatory fix many in the U.S. will demand. Incentivizing industry to “upscale” a generic drug to improve usability is another.

In addition, the use of prizes, like the XPRIZE and innovation challenges immediately unleashes a spirit of global competition. Surprisingly, it is not always the winner that ultimately becomes the market leader but the engagement concept of establishing teams to drive fast change has multiple upsides. As one FARE advisor noted, you are looking for that thing that is “half-baked sitting on a shelf” but needs a push to move it into the solution set for your disease. The key is motivating the public on why they need to rally around fixing the problem as the cause du jure.

My organization FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and largest private funder of food allergy research, launched a multi-year competition, the FAITH Challenge, designed to put an end to Oral Food Challenges and create a new, safe, and compassionate method to accurately diagnose patients with food allergies. The goal of this $3 Million in prize money is to inspire the world’s leading researchers to put an end to a barbaric testing process, which is unfortunately the chief diagnostic tool for food allergies.  

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) is the current “gold standard” in diagnosing food allergies.  However, OFC and related diagnostic tools, while generally safe, expose some patients to severe food allergy reactions, sickness, and even death. For instance, about two percent  of patients experience anaphylaxis because of the test. In addition, an OFC can also have long-lasting impact on patient anxiety and mental health due to the physical duress and health risks involved with its application. The Oral Food Challenge not only takes an emotional and physical toll on both children and adults, it also is a barrier to research as the number of challenges required can serve as a major deterrent to patient recruitment for clinical trials. As a result, many patients will avoid treatment and participation in research due to the valid dread of the process they will experience.

The competition will positively impact the lives of the almost half billion food allergy patients globally by turning around our approach to diagnosing individuals with life-threatening food allergies.

The incredible international effort to bring COVID-19 vaccines to market showed us what is possible when we bring the brightest minds in healthcare and innovation together in pursuit of a common goal. Similarly, FARE’s FAITH Challenge is designed to galvanize the best scientific researchers in the world to action—alone or in collaboration—to reach a breakthrough solution to the food allergy testing problem.

Incentivize change. Create a competitive but collaborative spirit. And ensure that you clear the regulatory runway to quickly move to supporting the patient and speed innovation to market.

About
Lisa Gable
:
Lisa Gable is chief executive officer at FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research. She is also the author of Turnaround (IdeaPress Publishing, October 5, 2021).
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

a global affairs media network

www.diplomaticourier.com

Turnarounds: Spurring Competition & Global Collaboration to Meet Patient Needs

Photo courtesy of FARE.

March 25, 2021

D

uring the global pandemic, I stood in awe of the market forces which unleashed an unprecedented level of international collaboration and innovation within the pharmaceutical industry to design vaccines. A positive side effect of Operation Warp Speed (as it was known in the United States) is that the public will likely be less tolerant of the length of time it currently takes to move a treatment to a patient due to bureaucratic barriers or a perceived lack of willingness for companies and/or governments to invest in pre-competitive innovation platforms like data collection.

The laser focus of global media surrounding the process for creating the vaccines and distributing them educated us about product distribution, underlying health conditions, and health disparities that increase challenges for those in underserved communities worldwide. As we educated ourselves on the multidimensional levels of health inequality, the process demonstrated the requirement to move innovative products through the pipeline more quickly to ease patients concerns and ailments. COVID-19 may have been the disease but heightened risk due to pre-existing conditions should be part of our public health discussions. We need to solve underlying problems, and creating a range of incentives should there be an opportunity to push advancement with support from multinational governing bodies, industry, governments and the consumer.

Peter Kolchinsky, PhD writes about the need to incentivize incremental innovation in his book, The Great American Drug Deal. He asks: “What’s the smallest increment of medical innovation that is worth its cost to society? And what’s an adequate incentive to get to that innovation?” A key factor Dr. Kolchinsky addresses is that we “sometimes fail to incentivize industry to explore new uses or upgrades for existing drugs.” His point is to question how many drugs are “trapped in their [current] form that is less convenient or less safe than they could be?” In high tech, we constantly build and upgrade to improve the ease of use of software or a device to meet consumer demand. Designing a fast-track pathway for the repurposing of a solution that works for one disease to quickly allow for its use in an adjacent disease is one regulatory fix many in the U.S. will demand. Incentivizing industry to “upscale” a generic drug to improve usability is another.

In addition, the use of prizes, like the XPRIZE and innovation challenges immediately unleashes a spirit of global competition. Surprisingly, it is not always the winner that ultimately becomes the market leader but the engagement concept of establishing teams to drive fast change has multiple upsides. As one FARE advisor noted, you are looking for that thing that is “half-baked sitting on a shelf” but needs a push to move it into the solution set for your disease. The key is motivating the public on why they need to rally around fixing the problem as the cause du jure.

My organization FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and largest private funder of food allergy research, launched a multi-year competition, the FAITH Challenge, designed to put an end to Oral Food Challenges and create a new, safe, and compassionate method to accurately diagnose patients with food allergies. The goal of this $3 Million in prize money is to inspire the world’s leading researchers to put an end to a barbaric testing process, which is unfortunately the chief diagnostic tool for food allergies.  

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) is the current “gold standard” in diagnosing food allergies.  However, OFC and related diagnostic tools, while generally safe, expose some patients to severe food allergy reactions, sickness, and even death. For instance, about two percent  of patients experience anaphylaxis because of the test. In addition, an OFC can also have long-lasting impact on patient anxiety and mental health due to the physical duress and health risks involved with its application. The Oral Food Challenge not only takes an emotional and physical toll on both children and adults, it also is a barrier to research as the number of challenges required can serve as a major deterrent to patient recruitment for clinical trials. As a result, many patients will avoid treatment and participation in research due to the valid dread of the process they will experience.

The competition will positively impact the lives of the almost half billion food allergy patients globally by turning around our approach to diagnosing individuals with life-threatening food allergies.

The incredible international effort to bring COVID-19 vaccines to market showed us what is possible when we bring the brightest minds in healthcare and innovation together in pursuit of a common goal. Similarly, FARE’s FAITH Challenge is designed to galvanize the best scientific researchers in the world to action—alone or in collaboration—to reach a breakthrough solution to the food allergy testing problem.

Incentivize change. Create a competitive but collaborative spirit. And ensure that you clear the regulatory runway to quickly move to supporting the patient and speed innovation to market.

About
Lisa Gable
:
Lisa Gable is chief executive officer at FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research. She is also the author of Turnaround (IdeaPress Publishing, October 5, 2021).
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.